THE Independence for Scotland Party (ISP) has attacked Alba for failing to respond to a plea to avoid a “clash” of candidates in the council elections.

Last year the ISP decided to stand down its Holyrood candidates in favour of backing Alex Salmond’s party, saying members had voted to “put aside” their manifesto “for the sake of independence”.

But in a statement on Twitter, the party said it had learned Alba is running council candidates in areas which key ISP candidates plan to contest. This includes Clarkston, Netherlee and Williamwood council ward in East Renfrewshire, where ISP leader Colette Walker is running.

The ISP said it had written to Alba officials “several weeks ago” advising which wards it planned to contest and asking if a clash could be avoided.

The statement said: “We’re still waiting on a reply. There are 354 council wards in Scotland. It’s our understanding that Alba are only running candidates in a third of them. We’re running in a lot fewer. There is no need for this to happen.

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“It is not smart politics. It is not an honourable thing either. Those of us in the independence movement can’t afford to be competing against each other. We need to work together in elections.

“You might say: ‘This is politics.’ But in last year’s Holyrood elections, Alba complained about the SNP not cooperating with them on the list vote to deliver independence. Alba is treating ISP the same.”

The ISP statement said the decision to stand aside for the Holyrood elections to allow Alba a clear run had not been unanimous, adding those who voted against the decision have “arguably been proved correct”. It appealed to Alba members for help, urging them to ask the party leadership to change this situation.

The statement ended: “When we stood aside last year, we were praised by many and told that it wouldn’t be forgotten. We ask you now, not to forget.”

A spokesperson for Alba said: “Alba Party are encouraging the electorate to vote for Alba candidates with their first preference vote and then other pro-independence candidates as their second and third preferences and so on. 

“We are delighted to be standing 100 candidates that will campaign for independence as an immediate priory, put forward our radical plan to tackle child and family poverty, as well as defending the hard-won sex based rights of women. 

“We know all too well too often pro-independence candidates lose out because unionist parties transfer their votes to each other. The more transfers from pro-independence candidates to another the more likely it is those councillors will be elected.”