Fraserburgh councillor quits SNP to stand for Alba Party
One of Scotland’s longest serving local councillors has left the SNP to join the Alba Party.
Councillor Brian Topping, who represents the Fraserburgh and District ward on Aberdeenshire Council, is standing for Alex Salmond’s new party as a list candidate for the North East of Scotland in next month’s Scottish Parliament elections.
Despite leaving the SNP, though, Cllr Topping insists he still supports the party and will continue to actively promote SNP candidate Karen Adams in the Banffshire and Buchan Coast constituency.
He said he was invited to join Alba and stand as a list candidate, and had agreed to do so in order to maximise support for independence.
Cllr Topping said: “I live and breathe to have a normal independent country, making our own decisions. Ever since I was young, ever since I was old enough to vote, it’s always been SNP.
"The SNP have done an excellent job, they’ve got lots of good policies and done so many good things.
"It’s not as if I’m saying I can’t stand the SNP. I’m leaving because I believe in independence and I believe this is the best way of achieving that goal.”
He urged people in the Banffshire and Buchan Coast constituency, in Aberdeenshire and across Scotland, to give their first vote to the SNP and to give their second vote to the Alba Party.
Cllr Topping joined the SNP 40 years ago and was elected as a local councillor for the first time in 1984. Since then, he has gone on to be successful in 12 elections.
He is still an SNP supporter but believes a combination of support for his former party and Alba is the best way of achieving independence.
Cllr Topping explained: "If you look at the last election, the SNP, on the list for the North-east, they got something like 136,000 votes; but because they had won the majority of the constituency seats, they got no one off the list at all.
"Yet the Tories for something like 85,000 votes and they got four people elected off the list.
"It’s all about the share of the vote.
"At the last election, the SNP got around one million list votes but only got four list MSPs.”
While insisting he didn’t like the term ‘wasted vote’, he suggested his former party’s campaigning for ‘Both votes SNP’ wasn’t the best way to achieve the so-call ‘super-majority’ of independence supporting MSPs in the next Scottish Parliament.
"What we are doing as a party is not only suggesting, but encouraging folk to vote for the SNP candidate in every seat in Scotland.
"I will be actively supporting and promoting Karen Adams for the Banffshire and Buchan Coast constituency.
"However, what we are saying is vote Alba with your second vote, the list vote, to maxmise support for independence.
"That way we can get people elected, so at the end of the day, when we add up all the votes, the SNP will win the vast majority of the constituency seats, and Alba will pick up the majority of the seats on the list.
"If people give their second vote to Alba we can create a super majority of indepedence-minded parties in the parliament.”