AN MP for Alex Salmond’s Alba Party has admitted its goal of a Holyrood “supermajority for independence” would not reflect the wishes of the electorate. 

Neale Hanvey, who defected from the SNP, said such an outcome would be “representative of the electoral system that exists in Scotland”, rather than its people.

He told BBC Radio Scotland that was down to Westminster devising Holyrood's elections.

He said: “I didn’t design the system. If anyone... needs to answer to the electoral system that’s been put in place in Scotland it’s certainly not me.”

In an interview with the Daily Record today, Nicola Sturgeon was scathing about the supermajority plan.

She said: "At the end of the day, we’ve got to win independence fair and square. We can’t game, or cheat, our way to that.”

Mr Hanvey also said SNP MPs had “very little influence” on policy at Westminster, and that they would be “more than welcome” to defect to Alba.

Mr Salmond, 66, launched Alba last week with the goal of standing at least four candidates on each of the eight Holyrood regional lists in May.

The former first minister said Alba could pick up votes that would otherwise be "wasted" on the SNP under the parliament's proportional system, and so create a "supermajority for independence", with up to 90 of Holyrood's 129 MSPs elected on a Yes ticket.

That would mean 70 per cent of MSPs supporting independence, when polls show support for independence and the Union split roughly 50-50.

On the Good Morning Scotland show, Mr Hanvey was asked if “gaming” the electoral system might damage the cause of independence.

He replied: “I don’t think there’s any gaming going on there. This is the electoral system that exists. The Alba Party is a distinct and separate party to the SNP.

"It’s entirely proper and within the rules for us to develop a distinct platform to argue for the case of independence and that’s what we’re doing. That’s called democracy.”

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Asked how representative a supermajority parliament would be of the electorate more widely, Mr Hanvey replied: “It would be representative of the electoral system that exists in Scotland.”

Presenter Gary Robertson then challenged him for saying representative of the system, rather than necessarily representative of the electorate. 

He said: “Is that not the very thing that you’ve told us has been wrong with Westminster for decades?”

A hesitant Mr Hanvey replied: “Well, er, you know, with, well, um, ah, I think you would need to take that up with someone else, Gary. I didn’t design the system.

"That was something that was delivered to Scotland as a result of devolution from Westminster.

“So if anyone is concerned or needs to answer to the electoral system that’s been put in place in Scotland it’s certainly not me.”

Pressed on whether a parliament not reflecting voters was good for democracy and whether it might damage the Yes cause, Mr Hanvey said: “I’m focused on delivering a successful win both for the SNP and for the Alba party.”

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Asked why he was backing the SNP after leaving them, he said: “Because I think that they are the best vehicles for securting constituency victories for the independence movement.”

Mr Hanvey was technically elected as an Independent in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath at the 2019 general election, although he appeared as an SNP candidate on the ballot.

He had been an SNP-endorsed candidate but was suspended late in the campaign over an anti-Semitic social media post.

Elected as an Independent, he was then admitted to the SNP group at Westminster after apologising and agreeing to an education course at a Holocaust centre.

He was the second SNP MP to defect after former Holyrood Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, who has been the MP for East Lothian in 2019.

After Mr MacAskill defected, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said it was a relief to get rid of someone who was “an increasing embarrassment to many in the SNP”.

Mr Hanvey said today Mr Blackford should “reflect on his choice of words”, adding: “That’s a matter for Ian and the SNP group. If they want to be ungracious, I don’t really want to comment on that or give it any further fuel.”

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Asked if he expected other SNP MPs to join Alba, Mr Hanvey said: “I really don’t know. I really don't know.

“They would be more than welcome. I don’t see there being a tremendous amount of conflict between being in the SNP at Westminster and being in the Alba Party.

“At Westminster we have very little, unfortunately and quite starkly, very little influence over policy from Westminster, even when it’s being forced on the people of Scotland against the majority vote of the Scottish MPs. 

“So I’m much more focused on how I can utilise my position at Westminster in concert with Holyrood and maximise the impact on behalf of the people of Scotland to secure our independent future.”