Ash Regan insists her defection from the SNP to the Alba Party “can only be a good thing” for the independence movement.
The former SNP leadership contender quit the party to join Alex Salmond’s on Saturday over allegations of a “wavering commitment” to leaving the United Kingdom.
Regan challenged Kate Forbes and current First Minister Humza Yousaf to lead the party in the wake of Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation earlier this year, but finished well behind the rival candidates in the vote among members.
During the campaign, she spoke of an “independence thermometer” to track the country’s readiness to leave the union.
She said she believes there is a “kernel” of an idea within the plan, though admitted it had been “badly expressed” amid fierce debates over the future leadership.
However, Regan refused to be drawn on whether her move between party’s increased the likelihood of the country becoming independent, stating that supporters and opponents would have to “watch this space”.
“I still maintain the kernel of what I was trying to say there was right. I probably didn’t maybe quite express it correctly,” she said.
“It’s quite complicated and involves you know, if you’re getting ready to leave the UK, there’s a number of institutions and so on that would need to be set up in Scotland and I had felt through my work in the yes campaign, you know, that sometimes there was a nervousness in the public that they weren’t sure that something was happening.
“So, I felt if we could have some sort of index, is maybe a better way to describe it, that would just show people in Scotland where we were on that progress to independence, institutions readiness, if you like. I still think there’s something in it.”
Yousaf told SNP members who did not want to advance the independence cause he “did not need them in the party” in the wake of Regan’s departure.
The First Minister said he was not shocked by Regan’s decision to quit and become Alba’s first MSP and Holyrood leader.
“I’m not particularly surprised – I am disappointed though,” he said.
“Ash Regan, of course, was elected on an SNP ticket – the reason she was elected is because of the SNP logo next to her name on the ballot paper.
“For her to defect but not resign, I think is not an honourable position, she should do the honourable thing, the principled thing, and resign.”
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