Humza Yousaf to reject pact with Alex Salmond's Alba Party – despite it holding key to his fate

By John Mercury April 28, 2024

Humza Yousaf will refuse to enter an electoral pact with Alex Salmond’s party that could have seen the SNP step aside in some Scottish seats, Sky News understands.

The Sunday Times had reported the Alba Party would make the pact a “top line” of discussions with Mr Yousaf.

But on Sunday Mr Salmond distanced himself from the move telling Sky News he was not disappointed over the SNP rejection “because we’re not proposing one [a pact]”.

Alba, which is headed by Mr Salmond, is likely to have the deciding vote in a key vote of no confidence in the SNP first minister at Holyrood this week. It is on a knife-edge.

Its only MSP, Ash Regan, is to make a set of demands to Mr Yousaf and one of those demands had included her rivals step aside in some seats to allow Alba to be elected.

Mr Salmond said his party would be “prepared to assist” Mr Yousaf in a no-confidence vote “as long as independence is restored as the key priority of the Scottish government”.

He said Ms Regan – who defected from the SNP in the wake of her defeat in the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon last year – had found herself in “a highly influential position”.

Politics latest: Key voter on Humza Yousaf’s future will make proposals to ‘help him out of a tight corner’

“Ash Regan will be meeting Humza Yousaf in person,” Mr Salmond told Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips.

“She’ll take with her what I think are extremely reasonable proposals about prioritising independence, moving away from the identity agenda and moving on to people’s agenda of housing, education and jobs.

“Now I would hope that’s what Humza Yousaf wants to do and therefore he will welcome these proposals and welcome that support.”

Despite Mr Salmond’s offer of help, a senior source close to Scotland’s first minister has said it will not happen. It is an idea that will be point blank refused.

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Former SNP leader Alex Salmond says Humza Yousaf is in ‘a difficult position’

Alba members are to meet online on Sunday to thrash out their plans.

It comes after the Greens were sacked from their SNP powersharing government arrangement on Thursday.

They have reacted with fury saying they will not back Yousaf in the looming vote that could bring down the current Scottish government.

Lorna Slater, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, told BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show, indicated her party would not change its mind on Mr Yousaf.

“I cannot imagine anything at this point that could change that position,” she said, as she appealed to members of the SNP to find a “home” in her party if they wanted “progressive” and pro-independence politics.

In an exclusive interview with Sky News on Saturday, the first minister said a Scottish election “can’t be ruled out” amid the chaos.

He has written to the leaders of all Scottish political parties to seek talks on making a minority government work.

Read more:
Humza Yousaf is battling for survival – how did we get here?
Humza Yousaf vows to stay in power as pressure builds

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‘I intend to fight that vote’

The Conservatives have rejected any suggestion they will support the first minister.

The leader of Scottish Labour, Anas Sarwar, said it was “now a case of when, not if” the first minister stands down.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have declined Mr Yousaf’s offer of talks.

In a letter to the first minister, the party’s leader Alex Cole-Hamilton wrote: “Successful minority administrations must be rooted in compromise and a spiti of mutual trust with other parties.

“However, your actiosn this past week have eroded entirely any remaining trust that you enjoyed across the chamber.”

Mr Cole-Hamilton called for the first minister to resign and call an election.

A tight vote is expected at Holyrood this week, where 64 out of 128 MSPs are poised to oppose Mr Yousaf continuing as first minister.

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The SNP have 63 MSPs at Holyrood.

Alba has told Sky News it could be demanding a pact which would see Yousaf having to agree to only one pro-independence candidate standing in each constituency.

Asked if that would happen, a source close to the first minister said: “No.”

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