Former First Minister Alex Salmond has announced a return to frontline politics with the launch of a new party.
In a statement on Friday, the SNP grandee revealed he would head up the new Alba Party at the Holyrood elections in May.
“Alba will contest the upcoming Scottish elections as a list-only party under my leadership, seeking to build a super majority for independence in the Scottish Parliament,” he said.
The new pro-independence party will stand candidates on the regional lists at the Scottish Parliament elections, with a minimum of four candidates in each list.
Mr Salmond’s explosive return to front line politics risks causing a headache for his former ally Nicola Sturgeon, who is hoping to sweep to victory at the polls with a renewed mandate for a second independence referendum.
The news also comes after Mr Salmond announced plans to take legal action against the Scottish Government over the handling of a probe into harassment complaints against him.
The pair were once close friends and allies, with Ms Sturgeon succeeding Mr Salmond as SNP leader and First Minister after the 2014 independence referendum.
But they suffered an explosive falling out after Mr Salmond was accused of sexual harassment by several women.
Mr Salmond mounted a successful judicial review against a botched Scottish Government investigation into the allegations, winning £500,000 in legal costs.
He was later acquitted of 13 charges following a criminal trial.
Ms Sturgeon came under serious pressure over the Scottish Government’s handling of the investigation but her future now looks secure after an independent inquiry exonerated her of breaking the ministerial code.