ALBA have promised to put pressure on the Scottish Government to ramp up preparations for indyref2 and have called for a pause on plans for gender reform at their manifesto launch.

Alex Salmond launched his party’s local elections manifesto at Caird Hall in Dundee as he detailed his hopes for all 111 Alba candidates to be elected across Scotland.

The former First Minister wants to push for an Independence Convention which would see figures across the Scottish Independence movement – from Westminster to grassroots activists – come together to push forward the issue he believes has stalled under Nicola Sturgeon’s government.

He is also calling on the Scottish Government to pause its planned reforms to the Gender Recognition Act (GRA), which would make it easier for trans people to obtain a legal certificate confirming their gender, in favour of holding a Citizens’ Assembly on the topic.

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Salmond said: “Where we are right now with half the country supporting independence, without there being a substantial campaign over the last few years, this is an excellent position to move forward from.”

He said an Independence Convention would pull together SNP, Alba and Scottish Greens politicians as well as activists to “renew and revitalise” the case both for independence and a second referendum.

Alba victories in the May poll will “concentrate our minds wonderfully” to put the priority back on independence, Salmond added.

He said he is not standing for election in May as he is focusing on running the Alba Party and making new TV programmes in London after he pulled his talk show from the Kremlin-linked RT following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Salmond added that the new programmes will not be broadcast on RT.

While discussions on reforming the GRA will take place at a national level, Salmond said councils had an important role to play in addressing concerns about liberalising gender recognition.

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He slammed Patrick Harvie for recently claiming the SNP had allowed transphobia to “fester” in the party.

He said: “I think when you arrive at a situation where you see the remarks that Patrick Harvie made as a government minister, about unnamed prominent people in the SNP, it does indicate that the debate, if that’s how it’s conducted with coalition partners, the debate is not in a healthy state.”

A Citizens’ Assembly on the issue would, he said, would allow the issue to be handled with “care and proper consideration”.

He added: “That’s why I would urge all parties to look at the Alba proposal for referring GRA to a Citizens' Assembly, where the issues can be talked through in a reasonable manner.”

Attendees at the launch were given a preview of the Alba party political broadcast which will be broadcast on STV and BBC Scotland on Tuesday night.

The film was shot on a shoestring budget – partly in The Eagle Inn in Coatbridge – without professional actors and features a Proclaimers song given to the party for free, Alba’s general secretary Chris McEleny told The National.