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Alex Salmond fails in bid to return as an MSP

ALBA party leader Alex Salmond in Ellon as votes continue to be counted for the Scottish Parliamentary Elections - Credit: PA

Alex Salmond will not return to the Scottish Parliament after he failed in his bid to pick up a seat on the North East regional list.

The former first minster had hoped to boost the Scottish independence cause by returning to frontline politics with his Alba Party.

But his party failed to pick up a seat in the region after winning just 8,269 votes.

The Scottish Conservatives won four seats on the North East list, Scottish Labour two and the Scottish Greens one.

Earlier on Saturday, Salmond has said the first minister “lost her nerve” on Scottish independence in 2017.

The former SNP leader was speaking on a podcast with independence supporters after he admitted his party was unlikely to get any seats in the Holyrood elections.

As well as Sturgeon, Salmond took aim at the leadership of the SNP, who he described as “graceless”.

He also singled out MP John Nicolson, describing him as a “poser”.

The Alba Party leader also claimed his party had helped the SNP in constituencies such as Banff and Buchan Coast.

“Nicola will prevaricate, Nicola lost her nerve on independence back in 2017 and has never recovered it,” Salmond said.

“It’s as simple as that.”

He also accused the SNP of “grand old Duchess of York behaviour”, saying they were “going up and down this hill numerous times”.

The SNP won Banff and Buchan Coast with a much-reduced majority, with new MSP Karen Adam retaining the seat previously held by Stewart Stevenson.

Salmond claims his party helped the SNP win the constituency.

“If you look at Ayr or Banff and Buchan Coast, it’s quite clear that they would have lost these seats, in the case of Banff and Buchan Coast, and they wouldn’t have won in the case of Ayr, without the Alba intervention,” he said.

“I think it’s a reasonable assumption that the SNP wouldn’t have got that 700 votes (majority in Banff and Buchan Coast), unless Alba were there encouraging people to vote and encouraging people to vote SNP.

“I think the Alba intervention has been helpful practically.”

Alba also has “electoral credibility”, Salmond said, due to the party having two MPs and 20 councillors.

Elected members in Alba were voted for while they were members of other parties, apart from Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Neale Hanvey, who was suspended by the SNP at the time of his election in 2019.

“That will make Alba a force to be reckoned with,” he said.

The former first minister went on to attack senior members of the party he once led, saying: “Many of the SNP leadership are among the most graceless people I have ever come across.

“John Nicolson, he takes the biscuit for lack of grace.

“He’s the ultimate poser, he’s done nothing for the independence movement of any shape or form in his puff.”

He went on to accuse Nicolson, the MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, of “piggy-backing on the work of others”.