Former first minister Alex Salmond has insisted his new Alba Party is “here to stay”, despite his failure to be re-elected to Holyrood.
The one-time SNP leader had stood for Alba on the regional list in the North East of Scotland, but his attempted Holyrood comeback was ultimately unsuccessful.
However, he insisted that the new party – which supports independence and had hoped to help win a “supermajority” for this in the Scottish Parliament – had now “established itself as a political force with which to be reckoned”.
Alba was launched just a few weeks ago, at the start of the Scottish election campaign.
Mr Salmond said: “Alba is here to stay. In only six weeks Alba has established itself as a political force with which to be reckoned.
“With over 5,000 members and more than 40,000 votes Alba is now on the political scene and we intend to stay there.”
With the new Scottish Parliament having a pro-independence majority, with SNP and Green MSPs, Mr Salmond was also clear that Nicola Sturgeon must deliver on the “promise to take Scotland towards independence”.
Speaking about the incoming SNP Government, he said there was “no excuse for them not to do so”.
He also insisted that Alba had been “vindicated” in its strategy of encouraging voters to support his party on the regional list ballot.
Mr Salmond said: “Alba warned that SNP votes would be wasted on the list and elect zero SNP MSPs in almost every region and that is exactly what has happened. Yet again up to a million SNP votes wasted.
“In contrast in the constituencies Unionist parties have been successful in persuading voters to vote tactically to stop the SNP in seats the SNP should have won such as Dumbarton and Eastwood.
“Yet while the Unionists voted smart the SNP persisted with the mantra of ‘Both Votes SNP’ knowing that it would fail to elect SNP MSPs, but worse than that, that it would allow Tory and Labour MSPs in by the back door.”
Mr Salmond hit out at his former party and said: “The SNP sent their troops over the top to waste their votes and it is Scotland and the wider independence movement that is the loser.”