Former first minister Alex Salmond is set to accuse the SNP of “stringing the Scottish people along” over independence.
Speaking at the Alba Party conference on Saturday, he is expected to hit out at his former party – one of the chief targets for his party’s attacks in recent years.
The case for independence, he is set to say, “has never been stronger” while the UK Government and Westminster “has never been politically weaker”, but he will also claim the SNP has lost the right to lead the independence movement.
Addressing delegates at the Woodside Halls in Glasgow, he will say: “Over the past eight years, I have watched on as the dramatic gains made by the independence movement over a quarter of a century have been thrown away as political opportunity after political opportunity has been allowed to pass Scotland by.
“Those unwilling or unable to face Westminster down have hidden behind arguments of process in stringing the Scottish people along.
“We’ve heard from the SNP recently that we should concentrate on the ‘why’ of independence and not the ‘how’.
“In fact most Scots know why. They live through it in the day-to-day challenge of trying to make ends meet in a very British cost-of-living crisis.
“But for Scotland to vote for independence the people must have a credible route to believe in. They have to know the ‘how’ as well as the why.
“Those in privileged positions in the Scottish Parliament may think that they have all the time in the world, and some may even have begun to believe that the independence movement exists to keep them in those positions.
“In reality their positions only have validity to deliver the people of Scotland their independence.”
He stressed the issue of Scottish independence cannot be “kicked into the long grass”.
Since well before the 2014 referendum, the SNP has been the de facto leader of the independence movement, owing to its position as the biggest party both in terms of members and its number of elected MPs and MSPs.
But Mr Salmond – whose party has never won an electoral seat – said that time is over.
“The SNP have left a vacuum where idealism and hope once prevailed and abdicated their right to lead the independence campaign,” he will tell Alba members.
“Alba are now the only political party in Scotland that demands Scotland’s independence as an immediate priority, and it’s time for those that share this belief to join us in delivering it.
“Alba must grow to fill the independence vacuum which the SNP have left.”
An SNP spokesperson said: “SNP conference debated and decided earlier this month that a vote for the SNP at the general election is a vote for Scotland to become an independent country.”
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