Ex-SNP leader Alex Salmond to stand for UK parliament

Alex Salmond

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Former SNP leader Alex Salmond is to stand for a seat at Westminster at next May’s General Election, the BBC understands.

He will contest the Gordon seat held by retiring Lib Dem MP Sir Malcolm Bruce.

Mr Salmond stood down as SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister after the “Yes” campaign was defeated in September’s independence referendum.

He is expected to confirm his decision when he addresses a meeting in the constituency on Sunday morning.

There has been intense speculation that Mr Salmond would seek to return to Westminster ever since he announced he was stepping down as first minister.

He currently represents the constituency of Aberdeenshire East in the Scottish Parliament and had indicated he would continue in that role.

At the 2010 General Election Mr Bruce held the Gordon constituency in Aberdeenshire with a majority of 6,748 over the SNP.

BBC news correspondent Catriona Renton said there was an enormous amount of momentum behind the SNP since the independence referendum and Mr Salmond was likely to have a good chance in the Gordon seat.

It had not come as much of a surprise because he had hinted at it on the BBC’s Question Time a couple of weeks ago, she added.
‘No coalition’
Mr Salmond was the MP for Banff and Buchan between 1987 and 2010. He stood down as an MP after being chosen as first minister, a role he served between 2007 and 2014.

He used his resignation speech as first minister in the Scottish Parliament to describe the job as the “privilege of my life”.

He said: “Scotland has changed – changed utterly and much for the better over the 15 years of this parliament and over the seven years of this government.

“I’m happy to say with every degree of certainty that more change and better days lie ahead for this parliament and for Scotland.”

The referendum on Scotland’s future saw voters turn out to reject independence by 55% to 45%, on a turnout of almost 85%.

Speaking last week, Mr Salmond said it was unlikely that the SNP would be part of a formal coalition government with Labour at Westminster.

The new SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has ruled out helping the Conservatives if David Cameron fails to win an overall majority of MPs in May.

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