THE administrators of a regional SNP Facebook page have issued a statement after defecting to Alba, taking the group page with them.

Some users of the social media site reacted with anger after the South Ayrshire SNP page was changed to a South Ayrshire Alba Party page over the weekend.

The group had accumulated around 2400 members since it was first set up in 2011, and those members now find themselves part of the newly named Alba page.

Users complained that the change was “disingenuous” and said it was “not a good look”.

The administrators of the South Ayrshire Alba Party page – the identities of which are not publicly listed – released a statement in response to criticism.

It said: “We are actually really sad we are having to address this especially after just coming home from a Yes event in Edinburgh which was positive, engaging and inclusive with representation from cross party and none, however we feel it's important to stop this in its tracks before it grows arms and legs like it usually does with these people.

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“This page was set up by us. It was us who put in the time, effort and dedication to build the page into what it is today. The idea that we would just leave that behind, is ludicrous. The page isn't stolen – you cannot steal something that is your work.

“We left the SNP over a number of serious matters, matters we have not addressed on social media. These people in usual bully boy fashion, in an attempt to tarnish our reputation again, seen our name as fair game on social media. It's not.

The National:

“We will be addressing the matter fully in the coming days and we fully believe in doing so, people will understand our stance and our reasoning for leaving.

“The [sole] purpose of this page is independence – this has not changed. Integrity gives you real freedom because you have nothing to fear since you have nothing to hide.”

Responding, one user wrote: “Why not just set up another page instead of changing the name of this one? I really hope there is at least one very good reason for doing this."

“Disingenuous to say the least to just change the name. You should have consulted your members,” another added.

“Can I ask how many of the 2.4k members are Alba supporters?” a third said. “Have you done a poll to ascertain numbers?”

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Responding, the administrators of the South Ayrshire Alba Party page said: “Every follower following the page got a notification to say the page name had changed. There is an option to unfollow. Less than 10 people have unfollowed.

“We think this page is a great opportunity to show people what Alba actually stands for and we hope independence-supporting people stay to support independence.”

Some users said they had not received a notification of the group’s name change.

"I didn't get a notification, but now I am aware, I have unfollowed,” one user wrote.

In late October, Alba welcomed the defection of SNP councillor Chris Cullen. The South Ayrshire representative had switched to Alex Salmond’s party in the wake of MSP Ash Regan’s defection.

An Alba spokesperson said: “Leading parliamentarians, councillors, activists, independence supporters, even dogs and now Facebook pages, all see that Alba Party are setting the path forward to independence. 

“If the people that have been putting the volunteer hours in over the past decade to put pro-independence messaging out no longer feel they can credibly do that under an SNP badge because they’ve went cold on independence, then surely the important thing is that the pro-independence message is still being shared.”