ALEX Salmond has said his “independence candidate” plan would save SNP MPs their jobs.

The Alba Party leader has called for a “Scotland United” ticket which he said the SNP should back for “self-preservation reasons”.

It comes after a YouGov poll this week showed Humza Yousaf was set to lose 23 MPs at the next election.

Speaking on TalkTV, Salmond proposed that independence parties including his, the SNP, the Scottish Greens and some “charismatic independents who believe in independence” should strike a deal to allow only one pro-Yes candidate to stand in each constituency next year.

Salmond said: “It really would be for self-preservation reasons, if you’re an SNP MP, to actually back the idea of having a single independence candidate in each constituency, that way you can save your job and – hey ho – you might even advance the cause of independence.”

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Host Mike Graham replied that this could be met with resistance from the SNP incumbents who would demand to be the candidate.

He said: “But hey, now you’re expecting a lot there. You’re expecting all sorts of warm, fuzzy feelings between politicians. Won’t they all say, ‘Well that’s all fine, as long as I’m the candidate.’”

Salmond replied that the lion’s share of the candidates would come from the SNP – with the rest made up of Alba candidates and Greens or pro-Yes independents.

He went on to say such an alliance would “detach” the independence cause from the “fairly substantial record of mistakes” from the SNP-controlled Scottish Government.

Salmond said: “Well the vast majority of these candidates would be SNP MPs. The vast majority would be ‘SNP: Scotland United for Independence’, you’d have a smattering of Alba ones, a smattering of Green ones, if you were really sensible you’d have some charismatic independents who believe in independence and then you would get…that would really catch on.

“It would be something new in politics, it’d be something different and, crucially, you would detach yourself from the fairly substantial record of mistakes of the SNP administration in Edinburgh at the present moment and you’d be talking about the principle of Scottish independence. Which, actually of course, is the reason for the foundation of the Scottish National Party.”

The SNP and Scottish Greens were approached for comment.