Alex Salmond confirmed as Alba leader after challenge to ‘coronation’ evaporates

ALEX Salmond has been elected unopposed as the full-time leader of the Alba party after a left-field challenge fizzled out.

The former First Minister, who has led the party on an acting basis since its launch in March, will be confirmed in the post at Alba’s inaugural conference in Greenock next month.

He had briefly faced a potential challenge from former journalist and blogger Rob Brown, who said the leadership should not be a “coronation” for Mr Salmond.

Mr Brown said “the dream of independence” would remain just that if Mr Salmond was “spearheading the cause”.

However it is understood Mr Brown failed to secure the 50 nominations required for a valid challenge, with a source saying he “got nowhere near” the threshold.

The news that Mr Salmond will be leader was revealed in an update to Alba’s 6000 members.

Alba General Secretary Chris McEleny that he was delighted that Mr Salmond had accepted the nomination and “ as the only person that’s ever been able to face down a UK Government to make them accept Scotland’s independence demands and deliver an independence referendum, Alba could not be led by someone better.”

The draft agenda for Alba’s conference on Septemer 11 and 12 is due out later today.

A party spokesman said: “We are confident that this agenda sets out that we have the People, the Policies, and the Plan for independence to take Scotland forward.”

Meanwhile, Mr Salmond has featured in a scathing review of a restaurant described as somewhere “rich people pay ludicrous prices for cack-handed food”.

The Alba party leader was spotted at the rooftop Polo Lounge at the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane, where a basket of bread costs £16 and a steak £135.

Mr Salmond, who makes a weekly TV show for a Kremlin-funded channel in London, was name-checked in yesterday’s an Observer by reviewer Jay Rayner.

Noting the original Polo Lounge opened at LA’s Beverley Hills Hotel in 1941, he said: “At the London version I got to eat a table away from Alex Salmond. And that that was the least troubling aspect of my evening.”

Mr Rayner then went on to savage the quality of the food and the prices, including salads that start at £28, a bowl of pasta at £38, and the cheapest bottle of wine costing £84.

He wrote: “Here, it’s the restaurant that seems to be bashing the rich, flogging them dismal food at inexplicable prices.”

Besides his income from TV and books, Mr Salmond has been entitled to a £42,000-a-year pension as a former first minister since he left office in 2014.

He launched the Alba party in March in a bid to secure an undefined ‘supermajority’ for independence at the Holyrood election, but failed to get a single MSP elected on the regional lists.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992