ALEX Salmond will insist Scots need to know the “how and when" of independence as well as the “why” in a speech to the Alba Party conference.

The former FM is set to challenge the SNP leadership “to look people in the eye and tell them the timing of independence is not important”, insisting they must have a “credible route” to believe in.

His speech on Saturday looks to be a direct attack on the SNP’s recently agreed independence strategy for the General Election.

It comes after First Minister Humza Yousaf pledged to stop talking about process and focus on convincing more people why Scotland must break away from the UK.

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The Alba leader will accuse the SNP of “stringing the Scottish people along” by not facing Westminster down, stressing the independence case cannot be “kicked into the long grass”.

He is set to say in his keynote speech: “Those unwilling or unable to face Westminster down have hidden behind arguments of process in stringing the Scottish people along.

“We’ve heard from the SNP recently that we should concentrate on the 'why' of independence and not the 'how', but for Scotland to vote for independence the people must have a credible route to believe in.

"Those in privileged positions in the Scottish Parliament may think that they have all the time in the world, and some may even have begun to believe the independence movement exists to keep them in those positions. In reality, their positions only have validity to deliver the people of Scotland their independence.

The National: Alba Party leader Alex Salmond“With one in four Scottish children living in poverty, pensioners scared to turn their heating on in our land of energy plenty, and this week the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reporting millions suffering from destitution across the UK, I challenge anyone in the SNP leadership to look those people in the eye and tell them that the timing of independence is not important.

“The case for independence in this time cannot be allowed by default to be kicked into the long grass, wrapped up in a hot-potch of an SNP strategy that no credible politician or intelligent lay person could possibly believe in.

“Alba must grow to fill the independence vacuum which the SNP have left.”

Salmond will say that the “when” of independence is vital to keep hope in the movement alive.

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The conference at Woodside Halls in Glasgow will take place over Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October, and will see a variety of resolutions debated by delegates.

They will focus on topics such as the benefits of Scotland joining the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) on “day one of independence”, radical land reform, securing free-to-air Scotland football matches and bringing ports and harbours on the Clyde into public ownership.

Supporting the Scots language, combatting racism in Scotland and enshrining workers’ rights into a written constitution are also subjects up for discussion.

Meanwhile, calls will be made by Alba’s depute leader Kenny MacAskill MP for at least a 20% public share in all offshore wind energy projects administered by a new publicly-owned Scottish Energy Company. 

The National: Chris McEleny

Alongside Salmond, the party’s Westminster leader Neale Hanvey MP will deliver a speech on Saturday afternoon, while MacAskill will address members on Sunday.

A fraternal address from Gordon Martin, Scotland regional organiser of the RMT Union, has also been organised for Sunday.

The party’s General Secretary Chris McEleny (above) said the conference will be packed with “issues that matter to the people of Scotland”.

He said: “This weekend’s conference has a packed agenda full of many ideas that will ensure that the people of Scotland benefit from their own resources. It is absurd that in energy rich Scotland we have fuel poor Scots. 

“Too much time has been spent in recent years by others talking about niche issues, whereas at Alba Party’s conference we will be laser-focused on the issues that matter to the people of Scotland. 

“Independence is polling higher today than it did in the 2014 independence referendum so it is now clear that huge swathes of the independence movement are looking for a political party to support that has a credible plan to deliver independence and will progress the case for independence as an immediate priority. 

“This weekend, Alba Party will be speaking to the people of Scotland and setting out that we have that credibility to take the country forward if the independence movement gives us their support.”