ALEX Salmond's Alba Party have representation at council, Holyrood and Westminster level for the first time after another representative defected from the SNP.

Following former SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan's decision to cross to Alba this weekend, South Ayrshire councillor Chris Cullen announced he was making the same move.

Cullen, who represents Ayr East Ward, was elected in 2017 and re-elected last year as an SNP candidate.

He said after hearing Regan's speech at the Alba conference, he was filled with "renewed optimism for the future of Scotland" and decided to make the move himself - accusing the SNP of having "strung along" members.

"I listened to Alex Salmond at the Alba Party conference extend the hand of friendship to those who only now are facing the dawning realisation that they have been strung along by the SNP who have failed to deliver on independence," Cullen said in a statement. 

READ MORE: Neale Hanvey: Ash Regan joining Alba is a game changer

"I was then completely blown away by Ash Regan’s decision to join Alba Party as she was someone that I already respected for her principled stance over the discredited Gender Recognition Reforms."

He went on: "However, when she said in her speech that now hope returns to the Scottish Independence movement I was filled with renewed optimism for the future of Scotland for the first time in a long while. I knew then that there was only one action I could take, so I’m proud to announce today that I am now an Alba Party councillor on South Ayrshire Council.”

Regan welcomed the councillor's move, having called on other SNP figures to join "Team Independence" within Alba on Saturday.

“I am therefore pleased that we have achieved an important milestone in now having representation at every level of Government: at Westminster, Council level, and of course Holyrood where I hope to be the first of many Alba Party members of the Scottish Parliament," she said.

Meanwhile, former minister Fergus Ewing - who was recently suspended from the SNP's Holyrood group for a week after voting against Green minister Lorna Slater in a vote of no-confidence - denied that he would be following Regan's lead.

The National:

He suggested that despite his current differences with party leadership, he believes these could be changed in the long-term.

"I have been in the SNP for 50 years and it has been a large part of  my life. For the first 45 years the party was a broad church and my view is this is essential for us to succeed," he told The Herald.

"I am focusing on continuing working within the SNP to try to influence the party, and see us regain lost membership, and support."