Sturgeon questions 'appropriateness' of Salmond election bid
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently emerged relatively unblemished from an inquiry on her conduct relating to accusations against Alex Salmond. A report by an independent lawyer found she had not broken the ministerial code, which her opposition had used to call for her resignation. With the country soon entering local elections, people are eager to examine how the situation will affect Ms Sturgeon’s election chances.
Can Nicola Sturgeon hold Scotland?
Nicola Sturgeon has retained her popularity, both as First Minister and SNP leader, but recent controversy has dented her lead.
The Salmond inquiry results call her popularity into question, but there remains support behind an SNP victory this summer.
A Sky News/Opinium poll found 46 percent of people said they would vote SNP.
While this is the lowest proportion since 2019, experts believe Ms Sturgeon can still cling to a working majority.
Professor Alex de Ruyter, a professor at Birmingham City University and director of its Centre for Brexit Studies, has said she emerged from the inquiry with a “spring” in her step.
While he didn’t foresee a supermajority in Holyrood, the professor added she has options available to her to curry public favour.
Some of these options, he added, come straight from the Tory playbook.
He said: “Recent polling suggests that the controversy between Alex Salmond and the Scottish Government has had little impact on voter intentions and support for independence still runs about 50/50.
“On this basis, I would expect the SNP to be returned with a working majority, and Sturgeon’s exoneration by an independent inquiry will put a new ‘spring’ into her steps.
“One could well imagine the SNP running with a slogan of ‘Stability with Sturgeon’ or ‘Coalition of Chaos’ in an eerie echo of the Tories’ 2015 campaign against Ed Milliband.”
The Tories are currently Ms Sturgeon’s biggest threat in the polls, as according to the same Opinium poll, they rank behind the SNP on 24 percent of the prospective vote.
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Labour is just behind them on 20 percent, and although they are an established presence in Scotland, only one party has gained MPs in the run-up to the elections.
Ms Sturgeon now has direct competition from former ally Alex Salmond.
The former First Minister has established a new party named Alba to deliver an alternative pro-independence supermajority.
Although Alba won’t launch in full until April 6, it has already attracted two SNP defectors.
East Lothian MP Kenny MacAskill joined Alba’s ranks last week in a shock move, giving them one elected official.
Neale Hanvey, MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, joined today, following expert predictions Alba could deprive Nicola Sturgeon of her sought after majority.
However, other Scottish officials believe differently, stating Alex Salmond will ultimately harm its popularity.
The Scottish Greens said the party was “thrown together at the last minute by a man who is less popular in Scotland than Boris Johnson”.
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