Sturgeon: There are ‘significant questions’ over Salmond’s political comeback

27 March 2021, 16:49 | Updated: 27 March 2021, 18:07

Nicola Sturgeon speaks on the campaign trail on Saturday
Nicola Sturgeon speaks on the campaign trail on Saturday. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Nicola Sturgeon has said there are "significant questions" over Alex Salmond's return to politics.

The former SNP leader has confirmed he will be among the newly launched Alba Party’s regional candidates standing in May's Scottish Parliament election.

The launch of the party comes amid a turbulent period for the SNP and the Scottish Government, led by Mr Salmond's successor Ms Sturgeon.

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She tweeted: "These are serious times, and the country needs serious leadership.

"For a steady hand to steer us through crisis, a bold policy platform to kickstart recovery and the chance to choose independence when the crisis has passed, make it #BothVotesSNP"

She added on the campaign trail on Saturday: "There are significant questions about the appropriateness of his return to public office."

Launching the Alba Party in an online event on Friday, Mr Salmond said: "Today Alba are hoisting a flag in the wind, planting our Saltire on a hill. In the next few weeks we will see how many will rally to our standard."

He said his party would be carrying a "positive" campaign and urged voters to back the SNP or another pro-independence party in the constituency seats.

The Alba Party will only be standing candidates in the regional lists in an attempt to boost separatist numbers in Holyrood.

On Saturday, former Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill quit the SNP to join Mr Salmond’s new party.

The SNP has called for a by-election in response, and described Mr MacAskill's departure as "somewhat of a relief".

The party's Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: "After yesterday's events this is the second least surprising news in Scottish politics.

"He has been an increasing embarrassment to many in the SNP and his departure is somewhat of a relief.

"That he is joining a party with serious questions to answer about its leader's suitability for public office is no surprise.

"He should now resign his seat in the House of Commons to let a by-election take place immediately."