Alex Salmond has not ruled out any potential return to lead the SNP for a third time.
The MP and former first minister of Scotland led the party between 1990 and 2000 and then 2004 and 2014, and said he “learned a long time ago to never say never in politics”.
Questioned on his Wednesday LBC phone-in programme about a scenario where Nicola Sturgeon could resign after losing a second independence referendum, Mr Salmond said his return as leader would be “unlikely and far-fetched”.
He told host Iain Dale: “There’s two things I’d say; firstly Nicola Sturgeon, I believe, will hold an independence referendum and win it, and will be the first First Minister of an independent Scotland.
“My suggestion has been the likely date as a year come September, but it could be three months later or whatever, within the timetable for Brexit.
“Secondly, if I remember correctly, even Jesus only had a second coming, I don’t think I’m going to have a third coming as SNP leader.”
Pushed to see if he would rule it out, Mr Salmond said: “Well, I learned a long time ago to never say never in politics but I expect Ms Sturgeon to be First Minister of Scotland for some time to come, and I also expect her to be First Minister of an independent Scotland.”