Former First Minister Alex Salmond is plotting a Westminster comeback as he devises the Alba Party’s election strategy at a meeting in Aberdeen this weekend.
The ex-SNP leader, who lives in Aberdeenshire, previously represented constituencies in the north-east as an MP and MSP, including as first minister.
Mr Salmond hinted his party, formed in 2021, will likely run more candidates than ever before with the goal of pushing the SNP to negotiate for independence.
But that could cause a major headache for First Minister Humza Yousaf with his party facing a tough fight to hang onto key seats under pressure.
Asked whether he intends to run in the north-east, Mr Salmond said: “We’re meeting on Saturday in Aberdeen to discuss that very subject.
“What is certain is that Alba will give every elector in Scotland the opportunity to vote for a mandate to instruct the Scottish Government to negotiate independence.
“That will be available through Alba candidates, and hopefully through other candidates, to every elector in Scotland. I anticipate being a candidate in that process.”
He added: “I think it’s correct to say the number of candidates we’re expecting to have will be greater than hitherto.”
It comes as Mr Salmond’s party announced plans in Edinburgh today to fight for a new law which would allow the Scottish Parliament to negotiate for independence.
The proposed policy will be spearheaded by Edinburgh MSP Ash Regan, who defected to the Alba Party in October.
Mr Salmond has consistently criticised the SNP’s failed plans in pursuit of independence.
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His pro-independence group currently has two MPs at Westminster, but has never won any posts in an election.
Fife MP Neale Hanvey and former Scottish Government minister Kenny McAskill both defected to Alba two years ago.
Mr Salmond failed in his bid to return to Holyrood in 2021, while his party did not win a single seat at last year’s council election.
The exact date of the next Westminster election is not yet known – but Rishi Sunak will have to hold it before January 2025.
Polling has indicated Labour could make significant gains north of the border, while the SNP may be at risk of losing seats.
In the north-east, the Tories could still hold onto several key strongholds even if the party endures major losses elsewhere in the UK.