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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Jane McLeod

SNP Westminster chief Stephen Flynn opens door to working with Alba Party

THE SNP’s new Westminster leader has suggested he is open to working with Alex Salmond’s Alba Party in the pursuit of Scottish independence.

Speaking to The Herald, Stephen Flynn said he’s been “quite happy” to work with all parties in the independence movement.

After former first minister Alex Salmond launched the party last year, many in the SNP have been reluctant to work alongside Alba.

Salmond’s party argues that the SNP have not done enough to get Scotland out of the Union, and disagreed with the move to refer the matter to the Supreme Court.

Alba have also been vocal in their opposition to gender recognition reform in Scotland, a policy which is a key part of the SNP and Green agenda at Holyrood.

The news comes as the new SNP Westminster team, led by Flynn and deputy Mhairi Black, look to take a more combative approach following the Supreme Court verdict that Scotland requires Westminster’s permission to hold indyref2.

Asked about whether he would work with Alba, Flynn told The Herald: “We are of course the mainstream movement for Scottish independence. My focus in the immediate term is working with colleagues within the Scottish National Party to further the case for independence.

“I personally have been quite happy to work with all parties and none in relation to the Scottish independence movement. Ultimately you need to judge people by their words and by their actions and that would be the determining factor for me moving forward.”

Nicola Sturgeon has said she doesn’t think she’ll speak to her former mentor Salmond again since they fell out over sexual misconduct claims that surfaced against him. Salmond took the Scottish Government to court and was awarded more than £500k after it emerged that the probe into his conduct had been botched.

He accused the First Minister of misleading the Scottish Parliament over the issue – a claim she was later cleared of.

Salmond was cleared of multiple counts of sexual assault at a High Court trial in 2020.

Also in the interview, Flynn denied that he was involved in ousting Ian Blackford from the top SNP job in London.

The National understands that prior to Blackford’s resignation, some 30 MPs had indicated their support for Flynn taking over.

He also rejected reports that somebody close to the First Minister called him in effort to convince him not to stand against Blackford. “That was definitely not the case,” he said.

“There was no vacancy. What happened was that Ian decided the time was right for him to step aside. He spoke at length in relation to that,” Flynn said.

“The vacancy arose Alison put herself forward and I followed suit and like in any good democracy our members had a choice. And I am delighted they opted for myself and I am keen to get going.”

Flynn added that he is set to meet with the First Minister in the coming weeks, having had a “short but very productive conversation” following his election last week.

“I am looking forward to catching up with the First Minister in due course,” the MP said.

“She has an incredibly busy job and I have got an incredibly busy new job. But I have no doubt that when time becomes free we will make it."

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