A FORMER Inverclyde councillor who now serves as the Alba Party's general secretary has tentatively thrown his hat in the ring for next year's projected general election.

Chris McEleny, who was a Gourock ward representative for a decade and leader of the local authority's SNP group for seven years, used his New Year message to reveal he is lining up a bid for the Westminster vote.

The politician has not yet confirmed which seat he would be seeking to contest in the expected spring 2024 poll but it is thought that the new Inverclyde and Renfrewshire West constituency would be favourite.

Mr McEleny said: "At the general election, Alba Party needs candidates with the experience to stand up for Scotland and make the case for independence.

"I have never been one to ask people to vote for what I won’t stand for. And I have never been one to sit out of a political fight that I believe in.

"I am therefore considering contesting next year’s election if approved to do so.“

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The next UK general election is to be held no later than January 28, 2025, meaning a public vote next year is most likely.

Inverclyde West councillor Martin McCluskey has already announced he will be standing locally for Labour, while the area's incumbent MP - SNP man Ronnie Cowan - will again be running for his party.

Mr McEleny said: "In 2024, the independence movement has in front of it one of the most important hurdles it has ever faced.

"If Labour see a revival in Scotland it will be as if all the incremental gains we made since 2007 never happened.

"It’ll be New Labour 2.0 and the cause for Scottish independence will have suffered a setback.

"That is why it is vitally important that independence supporters have the choice to vote for independence at the ballot box - and this is the choice Alba Party have resolved to give them.

"We must not turn back to a Labour Party that is a pale imitation of the Tories just because we feel let down."