THE most successful Alba candidate in Scotland’s council elections has defected to the SNP.

Kamran Butt, who ran for Alex Salmond’s party in Glasgow’s Southside Central ward, was welcomed to the SNP by Scots Asians For Independence (SAFI) on Friday.

Butt wrote on Twitter: “Absolutely overwhelmed by the welcome by @SNPSAFI National Convenor [Qasim Hanif] and his team to the @theSNP.

“It’s clear that joining the @theSNP under @NicolaSturgeon’s leadership is the only way we can deliver independence and strong governance for Scotland.”

SAFI welcomed Butt to the party and shared images of an event at which he had met more than 20 of its members.

Butt was also welcomed to the SNP by Mhairi Hunter, the close ally of Nicola Sturgeon and former councillor who lost her seat in Southside Central at the local elections.

At the time, Hunter blamed a “combination of Green and Alba votes” for her loss.

Butt was the Alba party’s most successful candidate at the council elections. He won 623 (roughly 8%) of the first preference votes in the ward in which he ran.

According to figures from the Electoral Management Board for Scotland, none of Alba’s other 110 candidates managed to win more than 300 first preference votes.

The news of Butt’s defection comes as Alba leader Alex Salmond vowed to continue on despite the disappointing results for the party.

Alba had hoped to see the first politicians elected under its banner at the council vote, but failed to win a seat despite strong local candidates including the party’s general secretary Chris McEleny in Inverclyde.

Speaking to party members on Friday, Salmond said the party would play a “strong part” in Scottish politics if the promised indyref failed to arrive in 2023.

He also said Alba would “unite” with other pro-independence parties to campaign if it did come.

READ MORE: Alba reject John Curtice's verdict that party 'must be over' after council vote

The former first minister said: “We now focus our full energies on developing the independence case in anticipation of the referendum vowed next year.

“The Scottish Government have told us there is going to be a referendum on independence next year, no ifs no buts, so let’s take them at their word and make Alba’s distinctive contribution to that campaign.

“If the referendum transpires then we will unite to secure a Yes vote for independence.

“Of course if it doesn’t, and somehow we are let down again, then there will be huge political change in Scotland in which Alba will be playing a strong part.”

An Alba spokesperson said: "We wish Mr Butt well in the future and thank him for his efforts in last week's election in which he stood on a manifesto committed to independence as an immediate priority.

"The Alba Party are now wholly committed to campaigning for Scotland’s independence in anticipation of the referendum the SNP-Green government have vowed to hold in 2023.”