SNP Lothian list candidate defects to Alba Party

Tuesday March 30th 2021


Irshad Ahmed, an Edinburgh businessman. Photograph taken from his SNP video last month asking party members to vote him onto the Lothian list.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Joseph Anderson

A Scottish Parliament hopeful has become the latest SNP candidate to jump ship and join Alex Salmond’s newly-formed Alba party.

Irshad Ahmed, an Edinburgh businessman who has been a member of the SNP for over 16 years, has left the party to join Alba in the hopes of creating a pro-independence ‘supermajority’ in the next Scottish Parliament.

Mr Ahmed, a 56-year-old businessman, was previously listed seventh on the SNP’s list of Lothian candidates.

Mr Salmond announced the creation of the party on Friday, where he said he would field list MSPs in the May Holyrood elections.

Prominent politicians due to stand include former justice secretary Kenny MacAskill and MP Neale Hanvey.

Mr Salmond has claimed that a vote for his party would allow those who previously voted for the SNP on the both ballots to vote for a party committed to independence and more likely to return MSPs via the regional list.

Speaking about his decision to defect to Mr Salmond’s party, Mr Ahmed said: “This is the only way we can get a majority.

“We have experience, in 2016, in the Lothians, where we got 118,000 votes, and I was number three on the Lothian list and wasn’t even selected.

“I think the best way is first vote SNP, and second vote Alba, this is the only way we can get the supermajority.”

When asked if any other issue prompted his move to the Alba Party, Mr Ahmed said:

“No, I was very happy, and it was a pleasure to work with the SNP.

“I’m a grassroot activist, and I believe in independence. I only joined the SNP because I wish for independence, but this is the time.

“This is the only way we can get the supermajority, otherwise I think things could go the same way as they did in 2016.”

Mr Ahmed was born in Pakistan, and moved to Edinburgh in 1993, a city he describes as “the most beautiful in the world”.

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