NICOLA Sturgeon appeared to have a veiled dig at Alex Salmond in her speech to the SNP campaign conference.

The First Minister, in an address broadcast on social media, hit out at those “who treat politics like a game”.

It comes after Alex Salmond launched his new Alba Party over the weekend, with several SNP politicians already defecting to join the list-only party.

Sturgeon said: “In politics, things that once seemed so desperately important, don’t seem so now.

“I don’t have much time these days for the ‘who’s up, who’s down’ approach to politics. And I definitely have much less patience for those who treat politics like a game and for anyone that indulges self-interest ahead of the country’s best interests."

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Independence is essential for Scotland's Covid recovery

The SNP leader added: “If the past year has taught us anything, it is that politics is about improving people’s lives, or it is about nothing at all. And that takes purpose and it takes hard work.

“The pandemic has also, for me, reinforced some fundamental principles of leadership. It is important to always treat people like adults, and to lead like a grown-up too. Don’t pretend to be infallible, learn from your mistakes – don’t deny those mistakes.”


So far, two SNP MPs – Kenny MacAskill and Neale Hanvey – and several lower-ranking members have joined the Alba Party.


Glasgow councillor Michelle Ferns was the latest to sign up.

Former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan and his wife Gail have also announced that they've joined the party.

Sheridan tweeted: “We look forward to working alongside others in the promotion of the positive and urgent case for Scottish independence. We must deliver the indy supermajority in five weeks’ time so it’s SNP 1, Alba 2.” 

READ MORE: SNP braced for more defections to Alba, says insider

Over the weekend, Salmond insisted Sturgeon was the best person to lead Scotland.

He told the Sunday Mail: “I believe that she should be the First Minister because the SNP should win a handsome majority. She is the only viable independence candidate and therefore she is the best one.

“I have no ambition to be in government. I am not standing to be First Minister, I am standing for the Alba Party on the list to build an independence super-majority.”