THE Alba Party has called for a special Holyrood election in October, which would act as a de facto referendum and break the “impasse” on independence.

Speaking at the party’s special independence national assembly in Edinburgh, Alba Party leader Alex Salmond said a de facto referendum in Holyrood would allow supporters to campaign for independence on “home ground”.

He said: “Holyrood offers many advantages over Westminster for such a plebiscite poll - a franchise which includes young people and European nationals, a special election which would be dominated by the single issue of Scottish independence and an electoral system which allows both the number of seats and the number of votes to be measured to assure the validity of the result.

“Above all it would enable the First Minister to keep her promise of an independence vote on October 19th this year.

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He added: “It is complete nonsense to suggest that this proposal is difficult under the procedures of the Holyrood Parliament. With an absolute independence majority in the Scots Parliament, standing orders can be moved to allow an extraordinary election to take place on the 19th October date.

“If there is to be a plebiscite election then let us fight it on the home ground of Scotland rather than the away fixture of a Westminster poll.

“However, above all, the Scottish Government now have to convince independence activists they are serious in taking forward the peoples’ mandate for independence.”

It comes as reports suggest that the SNP are set to roll back plans for a de facto referendum on independence at the next General Election.

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According to The Times, an option is set to be presented to the SNP’s National Executive Committee which would treat the result of the next general election as a show of support for holding indyref2 rather than triggering independence negotiations as previously suggested.

It also allegedly calls the threshold to be a majority of pro-independence MPs rather than a majority of overall votes.

Alba Party general secretary Chris McEleny shared his thoughts on the announcement with The National.

He said: “I’m surprised the SNP has been so stupid by announcing this today. It’s clearly a U-turn.

"Their strategy is set up to fail. They will most likely vote at their conference that it should be one more big push for a referendum mandate in 2026 and that it should be both votes SNP, which we’ve heard now for seven elections in a row if you count local councils.

“I think people are going to be frustrated, particularly as we go into the spring.

"People will be struggling with the gas and electricity, they’ll be struggling to buy food, they’ll be looking at their run-down public services all while the British state celebrates the coronation of a monarch.

“And they’ll look towards the Scottish Parliament for leadership and what will the SNP tell them? To wait a few more years and you might get a choice on independence." 

Alba MP Kenny MacAskill told audience members at the Charteris Centre in Edinburgh that the Scottish people must have their say on independence this year as promised.

He said: “Where’s our referendum we were promised? Where’s our convention? Where is the de facto referendum that we are now told is being rolled back upon?

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“We shouldn’t have gone to the Supreme Court. We certainly shouldn’t have taken it to the Lord Advocate who had about as much enthusiasm for it as eating a bowl of cold sick.

“We have the right to rebut the Supreme Court and take this question to a higher court: the people of Scotland.”

A question and answer session took place after speeches from Alex Salmond, Kenny MacAskill MP and Neale Hanvey MP.

During the session one audience member told the assembly “today is my last day as a member of the SNP”.

She cited the party’s support of green freeports as the final straw in her decision to leave.