A HIGHLAND councillor has quit the SNP and joined the Alba Party citing a “lack of action on Scottish independence”.

Karl Rosie has become Alba’s second councillor in Scotland and the party’s fifth member to hold political office.

In a statement, Rosie said he had initially intended to serve as an independent councillor in Highland Council before engaging in discussions with Alba.

“Two weeks ago, I took the difficult decision to resign my membership from the Scottish National Party,” he said.

“Following long discussions with family, friends, and colleagues, and after consulting with the Alba Party leadership, I am pleased to announce my decision to join them as their first councillor at Highland Council.

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“Over the past few years, it has become increasingly clear to me that the SNP's lack of action on Scottish independence and their centralised policies do not align with the needs of the Highlands.

“Despite my admiration for individuals like Fergus Ewing within the SNP for their pro-Highland stance, I am dismayed by the treatment he has received from his own party.

“His recent words and actions have struck a chord with many Highlanders, who feel let down by the Edinburgh government.

“Initially, I intended to continue to serve my constituents as an independent councillor. However, I then received a letter from one of our community councils, expressing their desperation due to decades of neglect and centralised policies and that along with several other factors, influenced my decision.

“Their issues were those experienced by most communities across the Highlands; a crumbling road network, high energy costs in an energy rich region, a loss of key public services and depopulation.

The National: Karl Rosie said he disagreed with the treatment of Fergus Ewing by the SNPKarl Rosie said he disagreed with the treatment of Fergus Ewing by the SNP

“While I believe bold leadership and robust policy are crucial for change, operating outside a party structure limits my effectiveness to improves the conditions experienced by our communities. Thus, I engaged in discussions with the Alba Party, who listened to my concerns and offered assurances that the needs of the Highlands would be prioritised.

He added: “The Highlands face numerous challenges, overlooked by both London and Edinburgh governments. Despite our region's abundant natural resources, we struggle with an inadequate transport network, a centralised NHS system, and unaffordable housing, particularly for our youth and essential workers.

“Lack of investment in infrastructure, digital connection and a slow progress on land reform have contributed to economic and population decline, which will only be reversed if urgent action is taken.

“To ensure the Highlands prosper, we require devolution of powers to our communities, greater control of our land and seas, investment in sustainable industries, and autonomy over housing and planning policies. We need the ability to levy taxes reinvested within our communities, attract business and infrastructure investment, and ensure local public service delivery.

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“By joining the Alba Party, I am committed to creating a regional manifesto aimed at achieving true economic and political reform for the Highlands and Islands. The Alba Party has the determination and robust policies that make them the ideal entity to pursue Scottish independence and address our region's unique needs.”

I assure all my constituents that I will continue working tirelessly on their behalf advocating independence for Scotland and Home Rule for the Highlands.”

The announcement comes less than 24-hours after Highland energy boss Steve Chisholm also said he was leaving the SNP for Alba.

Alba leader and former first minister Alex Salmond welcomed Rosie to the party.

“We are all delighted that Karl has joined,” he said.

“He will be a great asset in building credibility to enable us to breakthrough in the Highlands and we keenly await his work on a Highlands manifesto.

“Combined with top North business leader Steve Chisholm joining yesterday, it shows Alba in the Highlands is on the move.”