ALL parties that support Scottish independence should stand under a single banner at the next General Election, former first minister Alex Salmond has said.

The Alba Party leader also called for every Yes-backing political party to say that it seeks “a mandate to negotiate independence for Scotland” in the first line of its manifesto.

Salmond said the damage done to the “SNP brand” amid a police probe into party finances – which has involved two high-profile arrests – made this the best course of action.

Speaking at an independence rally which coincided with the King’s coronation, Salmond said the Scottish national movement “must declare its own independence from any one political party”.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf: I couldn't believe Peter Murrell's 'gut-wrenching' arrest

“The movement needs to engage in the thinking, the activism, the policy work, the international initiatives to prepare the nation for independence,” Salmond added.

“To prepare ourselves, and the people, for that moment when we are approaching our objective, and for the democratic struggle which will be necessary to wrestle our independence from Westminster.

“Secondly, this movement should instruct all of the independence parties to stand for the Westminster election next year all under one banner - to field one single candidate in each constituency, and pledge as the first line in each manifesto that we seek a mandate to negotiate independence for Scotland.

“The reasons are obvious —the SNP brand is damaged but the independence ideal is not. It’s time to downplay party interest and to emphasise the national interest in independence. The reservoir of support born in 2014 is still alive, kicking and waiting to be led.”

Salmond added : “For the first time in 30 years, the Westminster establishment is laughing at Scotland. They think it’s all over. They think we will go back to playing the political tartan fool.”

In February, former Scottish business minister Ivan McKee pitched the idea of a single, united pro-independence party as a possibility, amid plans to use the next General Election as a “de facto” referendum.

READ MORE: SNP minister Ivan McKee: We must unite under Yes banner at election

McKee said the word “Yes” should be explicitly on the ballot paper and suggested that forming a new umbrella party for the Scottish independence movement could be one way of making that happen.

He argued: “A large cohort of MPs at Westminster – elected under a Yes banner – presents a problem for the next UK Government.

“From the speaker calling ‘the leader of the Yes Party’ to question the Prime Minister every Wednesday, to how they are described in Hansard. Every day, the palace of Westminster will be reminded of the choice made by the people of Scotland.”

However, the idea of a de facto referendum has faded since Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation as first minister.

The SNP’s new leader, Humza Yousaf, would seem to have ditched the idea, instead opting for a more gradualist approach to building a majority for independence.

Organisers estimated that some 20,000 people turned out at the Glasgow independence rally on Saturday, which was held as King Charles III was officially coronated at Westminster.

As well as Salmond, former SNP leadership hopeful Ash Regan, Joanna Cherry MP, and Robin McAlpine from Common Weal were among the speakers to take the stage.

Salmond told the rally: "It is a tale of two cities and two futures. For the subjects in London, they are expected to swear allegiance to a king.

"For the citizens in Glasgow, we choose to offer an oath of loyalty to Scotland."