ALBA will not stand a candidate in the Western Isles at the next General Election, and incumbent MP Angus MacNeil has urged the SNP to do the same.

In a letter sent to the leaders of the two parties, the now-independent MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar MacNeil urged cooperation through an “olive-branch approach”.

Writing to Alba leader Alex Salmond and SNP leader Humza Yousaf, MacNeil wrote: “Post the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election I think we must further develop our working together.

“We must ensure that at the next election, votes for independence are aggregated, and we work collaboratively, and we do not campaign in votes for narrow party advantage alone but aim higher to independence.

“With that in mind, I suggest that we start cooperating now, as we can see that support for independence is still strong in the Scottish population, despite the fortunes of various parties.

“We can transform the electoral prospects of independence for the benefit of the people if we are bold enough, brave enough and big enough to cooperate. An olive-branch approach to one another for the independence cause, while respecting there will always be differences, is perhaps what is required.”

MacNeil was suspended from the SNP Westminster group after a public row with then-chief whip Brendan O’Hara.

Rather than retake the whip, MacNeil decided to sit as an independent at Westminster until “it is clear that the SNP are pursuing independence”. The SNP then expelled him from the party.

MacNeil has announced his intention to stand as an independent in his Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency at the next General Election, and he said Alba have agreed not to stand against him.

Salmond’s party have proposed a “Scotland United” approach to the next General Election, where only one independence-supporting candidate is stood in each constituency.

READ MORE: Third of voters back Alba Yes alliance plan at next election, poll finds

But it looks unlikely that the SNP will play ball. A spokesperson has insisted that “as for all elections, the SNP will be standing candidates in all Scottish constituencies in the upcoming General Election”.

Labour are standing Torcuil Crichton, the Daily Record’s former Westminster editor, in the Western Isles seat, which they have marked as a potential win in the next General Election.

In his letter to Salmond and Yousaf, MacNeil also spelled out his opposition to the strategy proposed by the SNP – to treat winning the “most seats” in Scotland as a mandate for independence.

MacNeil insisted that it should be a majority of votes, aggregated across all Yes-supporting parties.

He wrote: “We have to win a de-facto referendum in a First Past the Post system by winning credibly as in a referendum. That means with the majority of votes.

“However, we also need a majority of seats as the way then to have the parliamentarians to deliver that end. Nationally we can aggregate the votes but not obviously in a constituency for the seat.”

“However, I remain with my original point, it is now time to work together in parliament. There are many forces ranged against Scottish independence, continued division among those who should be working towards a common aim is surely counterproductive,” MacNeil added.

The MP had already written to Yousaf and Salmond in September, urging them to ditch "petty squabbles" and work together for independence.