THE Alba Party will support the candidacy of Angus MacNeil as an independent at the next General Election.

Following a meeting of Alba’s National Executive Committee on Saturday the party decided to accept MacNeil’s proposal not to stand a candidate in his current constituency of Na h-Eileanan an lar and work together to elect him as a pro-independence MP. 

MacNeil was suspended from the SNP for one week in July following a row with chief whip Brendan O’Hara in the division lobby in Westminster.

However, he refused to rejoin the group following the expiration of his suspension and said he would only do so when the SNP showed urgency on the issue of independence.

He was subsequently expelled from the party and now sits as an independent MP.

Alba have previously called on all independence supporting parties to work together at the next election under a Scotland United proposal, which would see just one pro-independence candidate stand in each constituency.

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However, both the SNP and the Scottish Greens have been unresponsive to the idea.

Responding to MacNeil’s proposal to work together, Alba leader Alex Salmond said: “Your proposals are similar to those I have put to the First Minister. Unfortunately, as yet I have had no response. However, I stand ready to meet or discuss these matters with him as they are very much in Scotland’s interests.

“This is a great pity because whatever result the SNP hope to achieve in next year’s election it would be a great deal better with independence parties, and perhaps other independent candidates, standing under a Scotland United for Independence alliance with a clear strategy in seeking and implementing a mandate for independence negotiations. I believe it would also result in far more SNP MPs being returned.

“I have therefore also copied this response to your letter to Humza in the hope that forthcoming and immediate political events, and perhaps the intervention of the SNP Conference next month, will provoke a change of heart on these crucial matters. However, I see no reason why ALBA or your good self should await these developments.

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“Thus I put the matter to the ALBA National Executive Committee today who have accepted your proposal to work together. We are prepared to support your candidacy as an independent alliance candidate in Na h-Eileanan an Iar and Neale Hanvey MP, as our Parliamentary leader, will be in touch to discuss practical measures to promote independence in the current Westminster Parliament.”

Following his suspension from the SNP, MacNeil said he had “absolutely no plans” to join Alba.