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Scotland may never get the chance to have a second referendum if the issue of independence is allowed to “slip off the political agenda”, Alba Party leader Alex Salmond has warned.

The former first minister, whose new party failed to win any seats in this month’s Scottish election, said politicians at Holyrood should be “forcing the issue”.

With the new Scottish Parliament having a majority of MSPs who support independence, he insisted the country had “never been stronger in political terms”.

In contrast, he said the position at Westminster had “never been weaker”.

His comments came in a message to Alba’s 5,500-plus members – with the party claiming new recruits have increased by 10% since the May 6 election.

It has already pledged to stand candidates in the 2022 council elections in Scotland, with the former SNP leader saying: “Local government is an area that we are going to be concentrating a great deal of attention.”

However, he claimed that just two weeks on from the Holyrood vote, the “constitutional issue is already gradually slipping off the political agenda”.

Mr Salmond insisted: “Independence should be right up there, first and foremost, in terms of dealing with the pandemic, in terms of recovery and economic recovery from it.

“We should be talking about the constitutional question in Scotland, we should be forcing the issue because London has never been weaker and Scotland has never been stronger in political terms.

“But if we allow it to slip off the political agenda to allow the (Boris) Johnson Government to regain its political balance, then the chance may be missed, and may never come again.

“An absolute majority of the Scottish electorate, two weeks ago in the Scottish elections, voted for parties committed to Scottish independence, a mandate that is unarguable but one that has to be used because mandates that are not used can sometimes be lost.”

Alba party officials have been left red-faced after the Scottish version of its domain name was hijacked within hours of Alex Salmond firing the starting gun on its Holyrood election bid.

While the official Albaparty.org address has been promoted as the party’s website, the version using a ‘.Scot’ domain has been commandeered on behalf of another party.

THOUSANDS of people have had their data leaked by Alex Salmond’s new party just hours after it launched – which could cost them as much as £17 million.

The Herald on Sunday can reveal that the names of more than 4,000 people who have signed up to attend Alba Party events were visible to the public due to a fault in the party’s website.

Among them appear to be members of the SNP’s ruling body.

© Scotland Matters