A COUNCILLOR who joined the SNP on the night before the 2014 referendum has today revealed she has left to join the Alba Party.

Ellen McMaster, a councillor for Arran and Ardrossan, may stand for Alex Salmond’s party in May after quitting the SNP.

McMaster, a member of the SNP’s member conduct committee, told The National: “Everything I do is about that vision of where we want to go as a nation. The SNP has made massive improvements to the lives of the people of Scotland. It feels like we have stalled. It’s time to galvanise the movement. If the Alba Party can be that grist to the mill to help push – not against the SNP and mindful of what they have achieved with one hand tied behind their back – why shouldn’t the Yes movement have more representation in Holyrood?”

McMaster, a farmer from Arran, delayed her entry to the SNP in 2014 as she felt people were more receptive to Yes messaging from outwith the party.

She said: “People turned off when it was coming from the SNP. If you were an ordinary person fired up about independence they’d talk to you. I have found that as well as a councillor – as soon as some people see that they are not going to listen to you.”

Her departure follows a complaint to the SNP leadership as part of a group dispute alleging bullying and harassment by Kenny Gibson, who is seeking re-election in Cunninghame North and denies wrongdoing. McMaster and others involved have criticised the party’s handling of the matter.

Fellow councillors Caroline McAllister and Lynne Anderson have also announced their move to Alba, with former Scottish Socialist Party MSP Tommy Sheridan revealing he has also signed up. McMaster said: “I am part of the Yes movement. I took on the role of SNP councillor to further the aims of that movement. For me now I feel that that journey with the party has come to the end of the road.”

Meanwhile, a pair of now former SNP councillors in Aberdeenshire have also joined the Alba Party.

Mearns councillor Leigh Wilson and North Kincardine member Alastair Bews both left the SNP last summer to sit independently, citing “personal reasons”.

But following the announcement of Salmond’s Alba Party last week, Bews and Wilson have now announced they have joined up.