By Bill Heaney

News is just coming in to The Dumbarton Democrat at 1.30pm on Sunday that SNP councillor Caroline McAllister, pictured above, who champions women’s causes and campaigns, including opposition to domestic abuse,  on West Dunbartonshire Council, has quit the SNP and joined Alex Salmond’s ALBA Party.

Cllr McAllister was women’s convener on the SNP national executive. She represents a Vale of Leven ward, which includes Renton, and was recently ditched by the SNP as their candidate to fight Labour’s Jackie Baillie for the West Dunbartonshire seat come May 6 when the election for the Holyrood Parliament will be held. The person chosen to go forward for the SNP is BAME candidate Michelle Campbell.

Caroline McAllister says that she is looking forward to standing on the Regional List for ALBA on the Scotland West List and gaining a seat at Holyrood when the parliament returns on May 13.

Nicola Sturgeon must be dismayed that she has lost McAllister, especially as the First Minister has made such an issue of Salmond’s relationship with women voters whom she believed would reject him.

The SNP have also lost another Dumbarton activist, Muriel Barlow, and it seems likely that her husband, Bill, who is one of the hardest working members of the party in Dumbarton, might follow hi wife across the divide.  The election tactics for Alba are that they will urge the electorate to vote SNP 1 and ALBA 2.

Labour’s Jackie Baillie reacted to the ever changing situation this evening when she told me: “As every day passes the deep divisions in the SNP get exposed. We are in danger of going back to the old arguments instead of focusing on the recovery from covid.

“As people fear losing their jobs, as businesses struggle for survival, and as the health service needs to urgently restart, the last thing Scotland needs is an ongoing battle between Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.”

SNP insiders said today that people were defecting from SNP to ALBA “in their droves”.

Cllr Caroline McAllister, left, with her colleague Cllr Karen Conaghan when they introduced Gaelic classes into West Dunbartonshire primary schools. Above: Cllr Caroline McAllister pictured at the Smollett Monument in Renton, which is part of her council ward.

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