Alan Cochrane: The SNP may need to work with Alex Salmond's Alba to keep a pro-independence majority

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Alba Party leader Alex Salmond during a visit to the Scotsman Lounge in Edinburgh on the campaign trail for the forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary Election on May 6, 2021 - Jane Barlow/PA
Alba Party leader Alex Salmond during a visit to the Scotsman Lounge in Edinburgh on the campaign trail for the forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary Election on May 6, 2021 - Jane Barlow/PA

Nicola Sturgeon may have to go to Alex Salmond and his new political party Alba to hold onto a pro-independence government after this week's election says the former Scottish editor of the Telegraph, Alan Cochrane.

Barring a major upset, it looks as though the Scottish National Party will emerge as the biggest party in the Scottish Parliament after Thursday's election. But what is at stake is whether they get the 65 seats they need to have an overall majority.

Speaking on Chopper's Politics, which you can listen to on the player above, Mr Cochrane explained that he thought that the polls were missing potential votes for Alex Salmond's new Alba party.

"The polls are suggesting he's not going to do at all well, but I suspect, as do many of the psephologists, that the polls are missing his votes. I think he'll get a couple of seats, I think he'll certainly be elected in the North East which is his old stamping ground."

"I was talking to some strategists yesterday and he's more popular in the North East of Scotland than say Nicola Sturgeon with nationalists.

So he'll get a seat there, and if he gets two or three others he could be in a position to influence the overall nationalist independence majority in the parliament."

That would see Alba and Alex Salmond in talks with the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon about giving a majority to the independence cause, leading to the pair having to work together again. Together they led the campaign for Scotland to become independent from the UK, with Mr Salmond then head of the SNP and Ms Sturgeon his deputy.

They then spectacularly fell out in 2018 after Ms Sturgeon refused to intervene in a Scottish Government probe into sexual harassment complaints against Mr Salmond. They further soured when he publicly accused the First Minister of lying to Parliament over her handling of the claims against him.

On how the option of the pair joining forces again would go down, Alan Cochrane says "Nicola will absolutely hate that. She will hate having to deal with Alex, because they have been at daggers drawn now for years."

Listen to Christopher Hope's full interview with Alan Cochrane, on Chopper's Politics podcast, along with author Kevin Meagher and electoral expert Martin Baxter, using the audio player at the top of this article or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast app.

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