Alex Salmond says his Alba Party will be the only one to include a strategy for delivering Scottish independence in its election manifesto – as he claimed the approach taken by his former party on the issue was a mystery that even Sherlock Holmes could not solve.

The former Scottish first minister hit out at the SNP as he insisted that Alba had “emerged as the only party seeking an independence mandate at each and every election”.

SNP policy on independence – agreed by the party at its conference in October last year – sets out that “page one, line one” of its manifesto will state: “Vote SNP for Scotland to become an independent country.”

It adds that if the SNP wins a majority of the seats at the General Election in Scotland, the Scottish Government will be “empowered to begin immediate negotiations with the UK Government to give democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent country”.

But Alba – one of the three main pro-independence parties in Scotland, along with the SNP and Scottish Greens – has already accused John Swinney’s party of “hoisting the white flag” on independence after the SNP failed to include any mention of this on ballot papers for the July 4 election.

Claiming that the Scottish Greens were looking for “potential deals” with Labour after the next Holyrood election in 2026, Mr Salmond said his party had become the “natural home for independence supporters”.

The Alba leader criticised his former party, saying: “Sherlock Holmes could not solve the mystery of the SNP approach to independence. It is an enigma without a solution.”

Mr Salmond added: “Alba has emerged as the only party seeking an independence mandate at each and every election and we will be the only party that has a General Election manifesto that includes a strategy to deliver independence.”

He insisted that Alba would now look to “mobilise the independence vote disheartened by the SNP’s half-hearted campaign” as he declared: “Every Alba vote will count towards independence.”

Alba is fielding 19 candidates in Scotland, with the party also supporting Angus MacNeil, who was formerly an SNP MP but was sitting as an independent when Parliament was dissolved.

Mr Salmond is not running in this election, but is to stand in the 2026 Scottish Parliament vote.

He said: “Alba Party are now the natural home for independence supporters and whilst the Greens look forward to potential deals with the Labour Party and the SNP soft-peddle on independence, Alba are looking forward to making an impact for independence in this General Election.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “As the largest political party – and pro-independence party – in Scotland, the SNP will continue delivering for people across the country and making the case for a better Scotland with independence.

“In the face of yet more cuts to public services, Brexit and a cost-of-living crisis, voting SNP at the General Election is a chance for people in Scotland to make their voice heard – which is why page one, line one of the SNP manifesto will read ‘vote SNP for Scotland to become an independent country’.”