Sturgeon under pressure: Alliance For Independence to launch as Scot independence party

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Alliance For Independence is to be launched with former SNP MSP Dave Thompson at the helm. Express.co.uk understands the party will run under the slogan “Max the Yes” in next May’s Holyrood elections.

The new independence party is hoping to put forward 96 candidates in next year’s Scottish Parliament election.

This week, the party will submit details including its logo which will be the letters AFI over an image of a Saltire, also known as St Andrew’s Cross, the National Flag of Scotland to the Electoral Commission.

Mr Thompson has made clear it would not challenge the SNP in constituency seats and that it would only contest regional list seats in an effort to increase the number of pro-referendum MSPs at Holyrood.

It comes after recent surveys indicate the SNP will secure a large victory in next year’s Holyrood elections and will sweep up all of Scotland’s constituency seats – but very few regional list seats which could give Mr Thompson’s new party a chance.

Holyrood uses the Additional Member system meaning voters have two votes in elections.

In the first vote, a voter chooses a candidate to represent one of Scotland’s 73 constituencies and each constituency elects one MSP.

A second vote is used to select 56 additional members who represent eight different parliamentary regions.

However, in the second vote, the electorate votes for a party rather than a candidate in a list.

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This method could increase the number of pro-independence MSPs at Holyrood.

Several former SNP politicians have said they will back the party and could potentially stand as candidates in upcoming elections.

Among them is John Wilson who was an MSP under Alex Salmond from 2007 in the Central Scotland region but quit the SNP after the 2014 referendum.

He said: “In 2016, the overwhelming majority of 2nd SNP votes produced little or nothing for the independence movement. In Central, the SNP took every seat and the second vote became a wasted vote.

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“I don’t think it causes confusion.

“My view is voters are looking to maximise their vote, they’re the ones who want to drive home the argument for independence.

“Quite rightly AFI won’t stand constituency candidates because they understand the SNP will want to field them everywhere.”

He stressed that the elections were an opportunity for other political figures “to be involved.”

He added: “The reality is we need to get as many MSPs to show there is a clear majority in 2021 that indicates Scotland’s desire for independence.”

Serving SNP MP for East Lothian Kenny MacAskill has also urged voters to back a second pro-independence party as well as the SNP at the next Holyrood election.

He stressed the current Holyrood voting system made it hard to get a majority in both constituency and regional seats in an electoral region.

Mr MacAskill added: “‘Both Votes SNP’ just doesn’t work.

“What better way of allowing Scottish voters a choice than a specific ‘independence’ option on the list.”

Mr MacAskill has also urged the First Minister to focus on Scottish independence. 

He added: “I can understand why the First Minister and the health minister have been otherwise engaged.

“But this isn’t about the government, the government has a job to do managing the country, this is about the position of the Scottish National Party. And questions have to be asked about what’s going on there.”

He added: “I think the party has gone to sleep for a few months and I think it’s about time whoever is in charge woke it up and got it working. The work on independence should be getting done.”

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