Nicola Sturgeon could come under threat in the Scottish elections as Alex Salmond launches a new political party to challenge her. Unveiling the new pro-independence Alba Party today, Mr Salmond said the “new political force” will field a minimum of four candidates in each regional list, with the aim of electing Alba MSPs from every area of Scotland. It also marks the return of Mr Salmond to frontline Scottish politics after being acquitted of sexual offences in a trial in Edinburgh last year. The subsequent investigations into the Scottish Government’s handling of the accusations has led to a drawn out saga, splitting the SNP into two camps.
Ms Sturgeon was handed a huge boost earlier this week when she was cleared of breaching the ministerial code over her involvement in the saga.
An independent inquiry by senior Irish lawyer James Hamilton examined whether the SNP chief misled Holyrood over what she knew about accusations relating to her predecessor.
Mr Hamilton’s report said Ms Sturgeon had given an “incomplete narrative of events” to MSPs but concluded this was a “genuine failure of recollection” and not deliberate.
A Holyrood inquiry, however, found that Ms Sturgeon did mislead Parliament, adding that her government “badly” let down women who lodged complaints against Mr Salmond.
Following the row, former Scotland Secretary David Mundell accused Ms Sturgeon of lashing out on the Chopper Politics Podcast.
Host Christopher Hope had pointed out a poll in which respondents gave their view on which animal every major party leader in the UK would be – the most common response for the Scottish First Minister was “tiger”.
While a seemingly positive view of Ms Sturgeon, Mr Mundell said: “Tigers are of course superficially attractive, but they are lethal. Very few people survive an encounter with a tiger.
“‘We’ve seen in the last week or so, Nicola Sturgeon criticised by a committee of a Parliament that she says she respects.
“When that committee dared to give a view contrary to hers, she lashed out, the claws were really out.
READ MORE: Alba Party: What does Alba mean? Alex Salmond’s new party
Every poll of 2020 recorded the SNP share of the constituency vote above 50 percent, peaking at 58 percent in September and October, suggesting that the SNP’s recent troubles have dented their poll rating.
However, a poll by BMG Research released this week found that the SNP are on course for a narrow majority.
On the regional Lists for this poll, the SNP appeared on course for 42 percent, the Tories came second on 22 percent, Labour trailed in third place on 17 percent, and the Lib Dems and Greens each came in on eight percent.