Salmond sets sights on 2026 as he declines to run in General Election

The former first minister pledged his party would win 15% of the vote and at least 20 seats at the next Holyrood election.

Alex Salmond said the Scottish Parliament vote in 2026 will be a ‘crucial election’
Alex Salmond said the Scottish Parliament vote in 2026 will be a ‘crucial election’ (Robert Perry/PA)

Alex Salmond has announced that he will not run in the General Election as he sets his sights on Holyrood in 2026.

Speaking during a press conference in London, the former first minister and Alba Party leader announced he would not be on the ballot on July 4.

He said he wanted to lead his party into an “independence coalition” following the 2026 Scottish Parliament election, pledging to win 15% of the vote and at least 20 seats.

Formed in 2021, Alba stood on the regional list at that election, failing to win any seats with Mr Salmond’s party winning just 1.66% of votes after having been formed just weeks earlier.

Mr Salmond, however, is the first candidate announced for a local constituency, pledging to stand in the Banffshire and Buchan Coast seat currently held by SNP MSP Karen Adam.

“Alba believe that each and every election should be used to seek a mandate for independence secured by the independence parties achieving a majority of the votes,” he said after the press conference.

“The 2026 Scottish Parliament election will be a crucial election and Alba can now guarantee that every single voter will have an Alba candidate to vote for, as we are currently the only party with a plan to deliver independence for Scotland.

“I intend to lead Alba into an independence coalition government in that Scottish Parliament and for our party to be the backbone of the administration which takes our country to independence.”

Mr Salmond also used the London-based event to announce his party’s slate of candidates for the July 4 vote.

Neale Hanvey will fight again in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath – the seat he won last time around despite a suspension from the SNP – while former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill will move to the Alloa and Grangemouth constituency.

Saving the Grangemouth refinery – slated to be turned into an export terminal as early as next year – has become a cornerstone of the Alba Party campaign.

(PA Graphics/Press Association Images)

Former SNP MP George Kerevan will stand in Lothian East while the party’s general secretary Chris McEleny will contest Inverclyde and Renfrewshire West.

Every vote for the party, Mr Salmond said, would “count for Scottish independence”.

“We will introduce people to our argument that independence requires to be won in a direct mandate in a national election,” he added.

“In two years’ time, at the Scottish election, this argument will be brought to fruition when Alba will win 15% of the list vote and 20 or more seats.

“This General Election is now centred on the realignment of the right in English politics, Alba believe that it will also point the way to realigning the national movement in Scotland.

“50% of people believe in independence but only around 30% are prepared to vote SNP. Alba are saying to these people, don’t stay at home and certainly don’t vote for unionist Labour.

“Move to Alba and help reinvigorate the national cause in Scotland.”