Sunday, 20 Jun 2021

SNP nightmare as politician defects to rivals – ‘astonished’ by Sturgeon’s failings

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In a statement, Mike MacKenzie, a former MSP for the Highlands and Islands, claimed he had been left “disheartened” by the lack of progression on Scotland’s independence. Mr MacKenzie, who served as a regional MSP from 2011-2016, claimed independence had been kicked into the “long grass” by the SNP. Due to this, the politician has ditched the SNP to join Mr Salmond’s breakaways.

In a further blow to Ms Sturgeon, he claimed Alba was the only group that can successfully navigate Scotland’s way out of the UK.

He also claimed Alba was the only “natural home” for those who are committed to independence.

Mr MacKenzie said: “Like other former SNP activists I have looked on in astonishment at the lack of progress made by the Scottish Government since achieving its renewed mandate for a Referendum at the recent Scottish Election.

“The Highlands and Islands have suffered disproportionately from the economic impact of Covid with the tourism and hospitality sectors, in particular, taking a real hit during lockdown.

“I am looking forward to playing a full part in helping Alba develop the policies we need to tackle the unique challenges of the Highlands and Islands so that our people and communities can fully recover from the pandemic.

“We need to invest in transport infrastructure and broadband connections which will both retain and attract businesses to the Highlands, we must encourage young people to stay within their communities by making them attractive places to live and work and we need to sort out the chaos which exists across the CalMac network.

“Alba have the people, the ideas and the commitment to take Scotland forward.

“I am confident that Alba’s best days lie ahead and I am pleased to be joining them at this important time in Scotland’s journey to Independence.”

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Two other politicians also departed the SNP to join the Alba Party this year.

Neale Hanvey, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath and Kenny MacAskill, MP for East Lothian, both ditched the SNP in pursuit of independence.

Ahead of the elections in May, Ms Sturgeon pledged to hold an independence referendum in the first years of the new parliament if the party won a majority.

In a blow to her plans, the SNP fell one seat short of the required majority with 64 seats of Holyrood’s 129 seats.

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The SNP also underperformed in terms of Scotland’s constituency vote share.

Combined, the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour held 50.4 percent of the vote share, while the SNP won 47.7 percent.

The Tories also managed to retain their 31 seats despite fears the party may be demolished in the election due to Brexit.

Following the election, Ms Sturgeon insisted it was only a matter of time before the country leaves the UK.

She also insisted the SNP hopes independence is not settled in the courts despite the Prime Minister’s move to block a vote.

Ms Sturgeon told the BBC: “The UK government knows that if we ever get into a situation where this is being determined in the courts then actually what the UK government is arguing is that there is no democratic route for Scotland to have independence.

“The implications of that would be very grave indeed.

“If the argument of the unionist side is that Scotland is trapped it strikes me that that is one of the strongest arguments for independence.”

In order to secure a pro-independence majority, the SNP are in talks with the Green party to secure a majority.

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