Aberdeenshire council first local authority in Scotland to have an Alba Party group
Aberdeenshire council is the first local authority in Scotland to have an Alba Party group after three councillors joined the new political party.
Former SNP councillors Leigh Wilson, Alastair Bews and Brian Topping have joined forced to create the new grouping and to campaign for a supermajority for independence in the May election.
The formation means that the Alba Party group are now the largest small party grouping in Aberdeenshire.
Mearns councillor Leigh Wilson said, “I think the Alba Party is the natural home for us because some of us have felt homeless for a while.
"The development of our policies in the days to come will demonstrate that because I think you’ll find we’ll be saying many things that the SNP used to say – we’ll be representing the real heart of the SNP, if you like.
"But the most crucial issue facing us as a country, after we emerge from the pandemic of course, is the necessity to have the full range of powers of a normal independent country – that way we can chart our own course and implement the radical changes that Scotland so urgently requires.”
Councillor Alastair Bews spoke of the importance of maximising the pro-independence vote. “The first thing we need to do with the election is build a supermajority for independence, creating an unassailable mandate for a referendum.
"In the last election the SNP secured nearly 140,000 votes across the north-east but returned no list seats; the Conservatives, in contrast, only achieved 85,000 votes but secured four seats.
"We are therefore encouraging independence supporters to vote for the SNP on the constituency and Alba on the list – that way the wasted votes will end.”
Alba leader and former First Minister Alex Salmond, welcoming the new group, said: “The Alba Party is delighted to recognise the Aberdeenshire Alba Group of councillors.
"We welcome Alastair , Leigh and Brian who all have a great track record of representing their own communities.
"Now they speak for Scotland as well. This is historic as they are Alba’s first ever official Council Group in Scotland.
"They most certainly won’t be the last.”