Former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has been branded an “embarrassment” by the SNP following his defection to Alex Salmond’s Alba Party.
Mr MacAskill, who snubbed his own constituents earlier this year after telling them to stay home in East Lothian while he ventured to a holiday home 170 miles away in Speyside, announced on Saturday morning he had joined the fledgling party.
The SNP have called on their former member to stand down as an MP, which would trigger a by-election.
He has been an increasing embarrassment to many in the SNP and his departure is somewhat of a relief.”
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford
SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said: “After yesterday’s events this is the second least surprising news in Scottish politics.
“He has been an increasing embarrassment to many in the SNP and his departure is somewhat of a relief.
“That he is joining a party with serious questions to answer about its leader’s suitability for public office is no surprise.
“He should now resign his seat in the House of Commons to let a by-election take place immediately so the people of East Lothian can elect a new MP who will focus on their interests, rather than self-interest.”
MacAskill hopes to deliver ‘supermajority for independence’
Mr MacAskill, who intends to stand on the Lothian list, wrote an open letter to party members on Saturday.
He said: “I will be joining the newly formed Alba Party to deliver that supermajority for independence through the list vote and which I believe is essential to achieving our nation’s independence.”
Former Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock SNP MP Corri Wilson has also joined the Alba Party, and will stand on the South of Scotland list.
Scottish Liberal Democrat campaign chair Alistair Carmichael MP said: “Kenny Macaskill wants to go from being the SNP MP for East Lothian, to the Alba party MSP for Lothians. I will be interested to see how he pursues this role from his home in Banffshire.
“Alex Salmond wants to take Scotland back to the failed politics of 2014. What better way to illustrate that than recruiting the failed Justice Secretary of 2014?
“If Alex Salmond is getting the old ’79 group band back together, he could at least get Pete Wishart to play keys.”