Nicola Sturgeon will not work with Alex Salmond’s Alba Party

The SNP leader said her party wants to persuade people to back independence, not ‘bulldoze’ the decision through

Nicola Sturgeon has said she will not work with the Alba Party following the Scottish parliamentary elections this week.

Speaking to GMB, the first minister said Alex Salmond’s new independence party is ”not likely to be a big presence” in the Scottish parliament.

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Asked about a new poll which found that a majority of Scots don’t support independence, she said: “We have to patiently build the case and build the majority support for independence.

Nicola Sturgeon will not work with Alex Salmond’s Alba Party (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

What did Nicola Sturgeon say about working with the Alba party?

“I don’t think it helps that case to have voices such as those in his party who seem to think that we don’t have to bother with that, we just bulldoze our way there by engineering some kind of supermajority.

“I want Scotland to become independent and that means doing the hard work to persuade a majority of people.”

Sturgeon said that she would like to push for an independence referendum “when the time is right”.

She rejected the claim that there was a £40bn gap in the SNP’s spending commitment to scrap NHS dental charges, saying that by the end of the next parliament the manifesto commitments total £6.1bn more than what is paid right now.

She said the manifesto commitments are “affordable” but that there is a “real imperative” to invest to help the recovery from the pandemic.

‘Utterly nonsense’

The first minister said that there are “lots of lessons to learn” from the Covid crisis, but pushed back against claims that she made mistakes on people being discharged from hospitals into care homes.

She said that “one death is one too many” but that a study has found there is, “no statistically significant association specifically between hospital discharges and care home outbreaks.”

Sturgeon said she hopes that an independent Scotland would be part of the European Union, and that any border issues would be better handled than the Northern Ireland border has been with Brexit.

GMB host, Sean Fletcher said that if an independent Scotland had been in the European Union currently it “wouldn’t have 2.8 million people vaccinated”, which Sturgeon described as “utterly nonsense”.

“The UK was still within the transition period when it procured the vaccine and that didn’t prevent it procuring the vaccine on a four-nations basis.”