ALEX Salmond has revealed he wants to help write the next prospectus for independence, as he made clear his ambitions extend well beyond the Holyrood election.

The former first minister, who launched the Alba Party last week, said he wanted to update the SNP Government’s “new independence platform” given how outdated the White Paper of 2014 had become.

Mr Salmond also said he would be willing to work alongside Nicola Sturgeon in an independence campaign, saying people would have to “sink their differences and campaign together” given the future of the nation was at stake.

READ MORE: Alba technical fault reveals thousands of names who signed up for party events

However the First Minister, who addresses the SNP’s campaign conference today, continued to dismiss her predecessor.

While Mr Salmond told one Sunday newspaper she was the best candidate for First Minister, Ms Sturgeon told another there were “real questions” about his fitness for office given his inappropriate behaviour with women.

Mr Salmond’s party continued to attract defectors from the SNP over the weekend, including MPs Kenny MacAskill and Neale Hanvey, leading to Labour calls for them to resign and trigger by-elections.

SNP National Women’s Convener councillor Caroline McAllister also jumped ship.

Mr Salmond yesterday urged other SNP MPs to follow suit, suggesting it would be a sign of their faith in independence.

He said: “I would hope every Scottish Nationalist at Westminster is looking forward to transferring into the Scots Parliament. After all, they’re in Westminster not to settle down but to settle up.”

Former Glasgow MSP Tommy Sheridan, who was jailed for perjury in 2011, yesterday said he and wife Gail had joined Alba.

Mr Sheridan had hoped to get elected through another list-only party, Action for Independence, but that suspended its campaign after Alba launched.

Mr Sheridan and Mr Salmond both work for Kremlin-funded news outlets accused by the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee of “serious distortions” in their coverage.

Mr Salmond launched Alba with the aim of using Holyrood’s list system to get a “supermajority” of pro-independence MSPs elected in May by picking up votes that would otherwise be “wasted” on the SNP in a proportional parliament.

He said up to 90 of the 129 MSPs could be pro-independence, putting pressure on Boris Johnson to agree to Holyrood holding Indyref2.

READ MORE: Salmond: Indyref2: Will the Alba Party help or hinder the cause of independence?

However talking to Times Radio yesterday, Mr Salmond showed he was thinking well beyond the election and how he could be at the centre of a second Yes campaign.

At the last referendum, he and Ms Sturgeon launched the White Paper on independence, the Scottish Government’s 650-page prospectus for life after the Union. Mr Salmond said it had to be refreshed, and he wanted to help.

He said Alba was not trying to be the “next” Scottish Government, but would want to get involved.

He said: “We want to contribute to the ideas necessary to recover from the pandemic, we also want to contribute ideas to the formulation of the new independence platform.

“The world has changed since 2014.

“Many of the certainties we had in the background in 2014 are no longer the case. 

"We’ve seen history swept away in so many things.

“Not just the nightmare of the last year. We are now, as the United Kingdom, outwith the European Union against the will of the Scottish people, with all the economic consequences that are going to exacerbate the consequences of the pandemic. That is the new reality.

“Therefore the programme and platform for independence has to address that new reality of politics, not what was the case back in 2014.

READ MORE: SNP: Alba: Independence: Sturgeon only has herself to blame for her Salmond nightmare

“And if Alba can contribute to that platform - we think we can - then we’re certainly willing to do it.

“But that’s an essential prerequisite, in my estimation, for winning any democratic test of the Scottish people. The Scottish people expect there to be that platform for independence facing the realities of today and the future, not what pertained seven years ago.”

The SNP last updated its economic case for independence through the Growth Commission report of May 2018, well before the final Brexit deal was known as well as before Covid.

Mr Salmond also talked about “tactics”, including street demos, to secure independence, starting with negotiations with the UK Government once the pandemic was under control.

He said the outcome of talks might be the PM empowering Holyrood to hold Indyref2, or, if not, a plebiscite organised by MSPs, or the mobilising of international legal opinion on Scotland’s right to self-determination, or “peaceful street demonstrations”.

Asked about Alba causing splits in the Yes movement, he said Unionist support was split between Labour, the LibDems and the Tories, and it was not a disadvantage for the Yes side “to come from different perspectives”.

Asked if he could imagine campaigning on the same platform as Ms Sturgeon in Indyref2, despite their personal rift, Mr Salmond said he could because the prize was so great.

He said: “I’m certainly well prepared to do that. This is much more important than personalities.

"This is about the future of a nation.

"Incidentally that is what I believe Nicola Sturgeon would do as well because some things are a lot bigger than personalities or disagreements and the future of a country is certainly one of these.”

However in a interview with Scotland on Sunday, the First Minister showed little appetite for any kind of rapprochement with her predecessor, saying he should leave public life.

“There are some people, and they do tend to be men, whose egos don’t allow them to exit the stage when the time is right for the sake of other people and, I would argue, for his own dignity.

“Serious questions have been raised about the appropriateness of his behaviour towards women while he held the highest office in the land. I think that raises real questions about the appropriateness of any return to public office.”

Scottish Tory Miles Briggs said: “Nicola Sturgeon is desperately trying to distance herself from her former boss, but they are still nationalist allies at the end of the day. The threat of another referendum is very real as a result of this new party.”

Scottish Labour’s Jackie Baillie said: “Lives and livelihoods are still at risk in this pandemic and Scotland deserves better than this psychodrama.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain said: “Nicola Sturgeon’s attempts to dismiss Alex Salmond demonstrate how worried the SNP really are by the launch of Alba.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater insisted Alba did not threaten her party, despite it only having list MSPs.

She told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show that people voting Green in May would be a “completely different demographic” to those backing “a disgruntled ex-First Minister as part of his vendetta” against Ms Sturgeon.

Despite the ructions, SNP depute leader Keith Brown told his party’s campaign conference: “Never before in our history have so many Scots shared our belief that independence is the right path for our country. We are closer than ever to realising our dream on an independent Scotland.”