ALEX Salmond has said the route to independence should not be “pigeon-holed” into holding a referendum.

The leader of the Alba Party said if there is an independence supermajority in Holyrood after the May election, the parliament should instruct the Scottish Government to start negotiations with Westminster.

During those talks, the UK Government may require a referendum or consultation to ensure independence was the will of the Scottish people.

Salmond was speaking during a press briefing yesterday where he said he would be writing to broadcasters to ensure Alba would be taking part in TV debates. He also did not rule out legal action against any channels which excluded his part.

During the briefing the former First Minister criticised the Electoral Commission for not allowing the Alba emblem and party slogans to appear on ballot slips on May 6, as revealed by The National in yesterday’s paper.

When asked about the path to independence after a successful election for his party, Salmond said: “I don’t think that the pigeon-holing of this debate into a Section 30 referendum or a public consultation or a ballot elsewhere is either straightforward with the people or the way to proceed which has the statecraft required to get a result from Westminster.

“I don’t think you should tell in advance your negotiating opponent what you’re going to do or the timescale you intend to do it on.

“I think you should begin negotiations and those negotiations have an infinitely higher chance of succeeding if the First Minister has a substantial independence majority in the parliament at her back, than they would have if she was in a precarious parliamentary position with regard to independence.”

He added: “Pigeon-holing yourself into one route and one time scale has limitations over the advantages of taking the substantial independence supermajority in the parliament and taking direction from that and taking the parliament instead of a single party in the drive to independence in Scotland.”

As the first full week of the election campaign neared its close Nicola Sturgeon said she has no plans to work with Salmond if he is re-elected to Holyrood. The former First Minister had previously urged his successor to “put aside personal differences” and work with him again towards the “noble cause” of Scottish independence. But Sturgeon told Channel 4 News: “I am not planning to work with Alex Salmond.”

She said she does not believe the Alba Party “will help the independence cause”, and added: “I’m not even sure from his perspective it’s intended to do that. I won’t be seeking to work with Alex Salmond.”

Salmond was asked repeatedly at yesterday’s briefing about his party’s stance on the European Union and whether they would support rejoining the bloc. He said they would wait until after their conference tomorrow to set out such policy positions.

In a statement responding to criticisms made by Salmond and fellow Alba candidate Kenny MacAskill, a statement by the Electoral Commission said that it had advised the party of the January 31 deadline for submitting it for consideration.

“We advised the Alba Party that they needed to submit an emblem by January 31 this year, in order for us to guarantee we could make a decision in time for it to appear on ballot

papers in May. They made their application after this date, which did not leave enough time for a decision. All applications to register a new party emblem are subject to detailed assessment against criteria set out in law, designed to ensure voters can mark the ballot paper with confidence in line with their intentions.

“The Commission has a clear and published process for assessing applications on a first-come, first-served basis. This ensures that all parties are treated fairly and that robust decisions are taken. This process has been endorsed by the courts in recent days.”

Responding to Salmond’s appeal to let Alba take part in the TV debates, a spokesman for the BBC said: Nominations have now closed so we’ll be looking, as we always do at this stage in an election campaign, at our future plans for coverage in line with our guidelines and Ofcom’s guidance.”

A spokeswoman for STV said: “STV will have wide ranging election coverage across news and current affairs, and we’ll share more details with you shortly. Across the board, our coverage will be comprehensive and in line with Ofcom guidance.”