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Ash Regan MSP Resigns from SNP, Joins ALBA as Holyrood Leader

In a monumental move, Ash Regan MSP has announced her resignation from the Scottish National Party (SNP) to join the ALBA Party as its leader at Holyrood. The decision comes after increasing disillusionment with the SNP’s leadership and its wavering commitment to Scottish Independence. 

Alex Salmond, Former First Minister and ALBA Party Leader, comments:

“I am delighted to welcome Ash Regan to Team Independence. Her commitment to the cause of Scottish Independence has never been in question, and her addition to ALBA sends a powerful message about the focus and determination we bring to achieving an independent Scotland. Having Ash join the ALBA Party enriches our team and sharpens our focus on the immediate need for Scottish Independence. She brings a level of commitment and principle that is deeply admired across Scotland, and I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome her into our ranks.”

Ash Regan MSP, ALBA Leader at Holyrood, comments:

“It was a distinct privilege to be elected in 2016 on an independence platform; riding the wave of optimism that the 2014 Independence referendum ignited across Scotland. And it has been an honour to serve the people of Scotland as an MSP and a Minister. Sadly, it has become increasingly clear that the SNP has lost its focus on Independence, the very foundation of its existence. I could not, in good conscience, continue to be part of a party that has drifted from its path and its commitment to achieving Independence as a matter of urgency.

“Today, I am proud to take up the mantle of leadership for ALBA at Holyrood and to become the first ALBA Member of the Scottish Parliament. I do this with a clear focus on reinvigorating the cause of Independence and delivering on the promise that was made to the Scottish electorate in 2016 and 2021. I am committed to working tirelessly to create a Scotland that leads, not follows—a Scotland that leads the way in living standards, economic resilience, and innovation.”

You can read Ash's full speech to the ALBA Conference below.

Full Speech - Ash Regan, 28th October 2023

Ladies and Gentlemen, fellow Scots,

It’s good to be here.

You know, I had planned to stay put ... at home, for a weekend full of household repairs. But then it dawned on me, “What’s more important: Fixing a blocked drain, or coming here to help unblock Scotland’s path to independence?” 

The reason I am standing here today is because I believe the SNP has strayed from the path to independence, and it’s time for ALBA to get Scotland back on track.

The wave of optimism sparked by the 2014 referendum swept many people into the YES movement; and me into the Scottish Parliament in 2016.

We really all thought it was only a matter of time.

Even after delay upon delay, I still stood for election again in Edinburgh Eastern in 2021, hoping the solemn promise that there would be a new independence referendum this year—2023—would be realised.

Now, instead of a referendum, the SNP leadership is calling for something called a “democratic effect” with a timescale of sometime, never. They will not even commit to a plebiscite poll at the next Scottish elections —they will only consider it!

Well if they were capable of reneging on a definite commitment to a referendum this year, what’s to stop them forgetting about a conditional commitment to an election poll in future years?

The position on Independence taken at the SNP Conference has not just let the YES movement down —it has let Scotland down.

No doubt my decision will anger some. There seems to be so much anger in the world today —including anger across the independence movement.

However, anger is easy; it’s a seductive trap. It provides temporary relief over the pain of feeling hurt and misled by those who have betrayed our trust. 

Let’s stop numbing our pain with anger.

All it’s doing is making things worse.

We must all rise above it.

Let’s channel our collective energies into constructive action.

And when it comes to the online world —a place where anger often festers —let's replace vitriol with vision, and hashtags with handshakes.

Future generations will never forgive us if we let anger consume the independence cause. So, that anger stops today!  

Right now, hope returns to the Scottish Independence movement! 

Working together —across streets, across the country, and across parliaments —is what will refocus hearts and minds. It won’t be easy, but there is not much worthwhile in life that comes easy.

It’s not enough to talk about independence; we need a tangible plan. A plan that’s more than words —a plan that’s a sequence of actions leading to an independent Scotland.

At this conference, there will be a debate on the ALBA Party’s Independence and General Election strategy—I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome of it, and so should you!

Now, I’d like to speak directly to Yes voters watching at home, particularly to anyone feeling politically homeless right now —ALBA is ready to pick up the baton, and to do what’s needed to achieve Independence as a matter of urgency. 

Not maybe/ hopefully/ sometime in the future!

BUT NOW! Because now is our time —Scotland’s time.

I sacrificed the claimed comforts of Ministerial Office on a matter of principle over the Gender Recognition Bill —like you I cannot and will not compromise on the rights or safety of women and girls.

I’m joining ALBA on principle also: that Independence cannot be a carrot deployed only to attract voters, during election times.

Independence is a material commitment that I was voted in to Parliament to progress and achieve. My solemn commitment to my constituents in Edinburgh Eastern, and the trust they put in me, can now only be served by the Saltire-blue principle, of the ALBA Party.

Conference…

I’m sure some in the SNP may well say that I should resign my seat. But why? I am staying true to my election pledge.

Can around 60 SNP MSPs really say the same? —That they have secured the “No Ifs, No Buts” referendum that was promised? —Or are even prepared to fight with others to secure an election mandate for independence at each and every election; starting now?

Perhaps it is the 60 who should resign their seats and explain themselves to the people?   

So, my message today to anyone feeling politically despondent —is re-commit to Scotland’s cause! And come and join ‘Team Independence’ in the ALBA Party!

And to voters —trust us to deliver what you have voted for —which is: Politicians to get on with, and deliver Independence.

Lastly, let us remember… Independence isn’t our end goal; it will be Scotland’s new beginning.

Imagine a Scotland that leads, not follows. A Scotland that leads the way in living standards, economic resilience, and innovation. The nation that invented the modern world could surely end poverty in our own country.

So here we are, united in purpose, but let’s also be united in action. For the sake of every Scot who dreams of what we can be, let’s turn those dreams into plans… and plans into action.

I am proud to become, as of today, the first ever ALBA Member of the Scottish Parliament. Our task is to make me the first of many… 

Let’s get to work!

Thank you.              

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