Alba gains second councillor after SNP defection

Karl Rosie said the Highlands has been overlooked by Holyrood and Westminster.

Alex Salmond’s Alba gains second councillor after Highland Council SNP defection Highland Council

Alba has gained a new councillor after a local politician in the Highlands defected from the SNP.

Karl Rosie becomes the party’s second councillor and its fifth politician in either the Holyrood, Westminster or a local authority.

The Thurso and Northwest Caithness councillor said he defected to Alba due to a lack of progress from the SNP on independence and the “centralisation” of power.

Rosie said: “Two weeks ago, I took the difficult decision to resign my membership from the Scottish National Party.

“Following long discussions with family, friends, and colleagues, and after consulting with the Alba Party leadership, I am pleased to announce my decision to join them as their first councillor at Highland Council.

“Over the past few years, it has become increasingly clear to me that the SNP’s lack of action on Scottish independence and their centralised policies do not align with the needs of the Highlands.”

Alex Salmond Alba Party has gained a new councillor.Getty Images

Rosie praised veteran SNP MSP and rebel Fergus Ewing for raising issues impacting the Highlands and Islands.

But he said years of “centralised policies” had led to a “crumbling road network” in the Highlands as well as depopulation.

He added: “The Highlands face numerous challenges, overlooked by both London and Edinburgh governments.

“Despite our region’s abundant natural resources, we struggle with an inadequate transport network, a centralised NHS system, and unaffordable housing, particularly for our youth and essential workers. L

“ack of investment in infrastructure, digital connection and a slow progress on land reform have contributed to economic and population decline, which will only be reversed if urgent action is taken.”

Alba leader and former first minister, Alex Salmond, said: “We are all delighted that Karl has joined. He will be a great asset in building credibility to enable us to break through in the Highlands and we keenly await his work on a Highlands manifesto.

“Combined with top North business leader Steve Chisholm joining yesterday, it shows ALBA in the Highlands is on the move.”

Rosie joins South Ayrshire councillor Chris Cullen, who defected from the SNP in October last year, in local government.

The party has two MPs, Neale Hanvey and Kenny MacAskill, who both also defected from the SNP.

More recently, it gained its first MSP after former SNP leadership contender Ash Regn joined.

The SNP has been approached for comment.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code