ALEX Salmond will set out the Alba party’s “route to independence” today at the launch of his new party’s national campaign.

The former First Minister will unveil the strategy for the key goal in Ellon on the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath.

Last month, the former SNP leader announced his return to frontline politics as leader of Alba, which is bidding to achieve a “supermajority” for Yes in Holyrood at next month’s elections.

They are standing four candidates in each of Scotland’s eight electoral regions but are not contesting any of the country’s 73 constituencies and have called for supporters to vote for the SNP in those seats.

Over the weekend, a poll put Alba support on 6% of the vote share – a figure which could net them six MSPs. A few days earlier a different poll put support at 3%.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Salmond said: “On the anniversary of the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath I will set out Alba’s Declaration for Scotland and the clear route to independence – a strategy for immediate action by the Scots Parliament following the achievement of an independence supermajority.

“The momentum in this election is with Alba as people warm to our message that only a list vote for Alba can deliver the independence supermajority that will deliver independence for Scotland.  

“Last week we unveiled our fantastic team of 32 candidates, surpassed the Scottish Liberal Democrats in membership and, if the polls are correct, look set to see MSPs elected in every region of Scotland.

“As our message cuts through, that only a list vote for Alba will deliver the independence supermajority to drive Scotland towards independence, so we will see more and more people rally to our cause.” 

The launch, which will take place at the Buchan Hotel in Ellon at 2pm, has been announced as two former provosts have defected from the SNP to the Alba – with one warning their former party’s leadership to “lay off the negative personal attacks”.

Hamish Vernal, former provost of Aberdeenshire Council, and Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh’s former deputy provost, have publicly backed Salmond’s new party ahead of the election.

Cardownie started off as a Labour councillor, elected to Edinburgh City Council in 1988, defecting to the SNP in 2005 and leading the party in two coalitions before standing down at the 2017 council elections.

Cardownie said: “This is a vital election for Edinburgh and Scotland. If Scotland is to move towards independence at this election, we need to make the second list vote count by voting for Alba. An SNP vote, while necessary in the constituency, is a wasted vote on the list which hands seats to the pro-Union parties as we found in 2016 when the SNP got nearly 120,000 votes across Lothian and no seats.

“This time it has to be Alba for the list to ensure a greater number of independence-supporting MSPs are returned to the Scottish Parliament.”

Vernal has called on his former SNP colleagues to stop any personal attacks on his new party.

He said: “With Alex Salmond heading up the Alba candidates for the North East, I am delighted to be giving my support to Alba on the second vote for the regional list.

“I have been an SNP member since I was 16 years old so it is a considerable wrench to leave the party. However, the opportunity of building a supermajority for independence is too good to miss.

“My message to SNP voters is – give your list vote to Alba and make both votes count for Yes to independence. My message to the SNP leadership is lay off the negative personal attacks on Alba. It will do you no good in the north-east of Scotland.”

Welcoming Vernal’s support, Salmond said: “Hamish has been a huge champion for the north-east so to have his support for Alba is a tremendous boost for our campaign and one that will resonate with people across the north-east of Scotland.”