A former SNP city development chief has been unveiled by Alex Salmond as Dundee’s first ever Alba Party councillor
Alan Ross, who has represented the Lochee ward since 2007, was welcomed into the party at a Alba’s first annual Burns Supper at the Invercarse Hotel Ballroom in Dundee.
He had previously held various positions in the ruling SNP administration in Dundee, including the convener of community safety and public protection, and more recently, convener of city development.
Mr Ross – who left the SNP in May last year and has until now sat as an independent on Dundee City Council – is the latest former SNP figure to join up with Alba.
The Burns Supper was attended in person by Mr Salmond, Alba Party chairwoman Tasmina Ahmed -Sheikh, general secretary Chris McEleny, Westminster leader Neale Hanvey and former Aberdeenshire Provost Hamish Vernal.
Blogger Craig Murray, who was jailed for posts published during the 2020 trial of Mr Salmond, was also in attendance for a “wonderful evening of speeches, poetry and song to honour Scotland’s National Bard, Robert Burns”.
Yes City has an ALBA Councillor 🏴🏴🏴
Alan Ross Lochee Councillor left the SNP because they were dragging their feet on Indy & joined ALBA who see Indy as an urgent priority#ALBAforIndependence pic.twitter.com/f1ctILb8PX
— Denise Findlay 💚🤍💜 (@GraceBrodie) February 5, 2022
Mr Ross’s announcement comes ahead of May’s local council elections but the former SNP convener says he has not yet decided whether he will run again.
Election rules mean he will be allowed to remain a councilor under an Alba banner despite first being elected on an SNP ticket.
Speaking ahead of the Burns Supper, Mr Salmond said: “I am delighted to welcome Alan Ross as our first Alba Party councillor for Dundee City Council.”
“Alan has been a well-respected ambassador for Dundee across party lines for the past 15 years and he has passionately served his Lochee ward first and foremost.”
“As First Minister, I was proud to see Dundee vote Yes in 2014. This was in no small part due to the dedication of our activists and independence supporting councillors like Alan Ross.”
Mr Ross announced last year his intention to leave frontline politics for “personal reasons” and was expected to stand down in May.
In an exclusive interview with The Courier newspaper, Mr Ross said he believes the SNP are “dragging their feet” on holding another independence referendum.
“When is the time to say we’ve had enough of Westminster if it’s not now?” he said.
“I’m not 100% sure what the strategy is in terms of a referendum. I know they’ve said next year but I think there is a lot of doubt about whether that will happen.”
Alba Westminster leader Neale Hanvey said it is “impossible to predict” whether more defections will be announced before May but added: “There are lots of people who are on the cusp of coming across and who are behind what we are trying to do”.
“Alan is going to bring all the experience he’s developed as a councillor, along with his passion for independence,” he said.
“Those are the most important things that anyone can bring to the party, the energy and commitment to securing Scotland’s independence.”
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: “As an SNP group, we continue to work across the chamber with all parties and none, and that approach will continue.
“Alan has been a friend and a colleague for many years and I continue to wish him all the best in whatever he chooses to do going forward.”