Nicola Sturgeon says there are ‘significant questions’ over Alex Salmond’s return to public office 'given concerns over conduct'
First minister Nicola Sturgeon says there are “significant questions” about the appropriateness of former SNP leader Alex Salmond’s return to public office given concerns raised about his conduct.
Mr Salmond has announced the creation of a new pro-independence party, the Alba Party, which will contest the Scottish Parliament election.
He said he will be among the candidates standing for the party on regional lists and that the aim is to build a “supermajority” for independence at Holyrood after the election in May.
Ms Nicola Sturgeon reacted to the news today, telling Capital Scotland News: “I take no pleasure in saying this but I think there are significant questions about the appropriateness of his return to public office given some of the concerns that have been raised about his conduct, but that is a matter for voters to judge and decide. This is an election after all and we are in a democracy.
“For my part, I am focused on the interests of the country. This is a serious election in very serious time for the country, it’s not a game.”
Ms Sturgeon said the SNP is offering experienced leadership to get the country through the pandemic and a policy programme to “kick start recovery” and, once out of the crisis, that chance to choose independence “so we can shape the future of Scotland.”
She added: “If people want that then they have to vote SNP to get that. Elections are not games and are not an opportunity to gamble with the country’s future, particularly not in times as serious as this.”
Mr Salmond’s announcement earlier this week marks his return to frontline politics after being acquitted of sexual offences in a trial in Edinburgh last year.
The launch of his party is the latest twist in the tale of the breakdown of Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon’s relationship, which began when the Scottish Government investigated alleged incidences of sexual harassment against the former first minister.
The return of Mr Salmond to politics will see two titans of the independence movement lock horns as Ms Sturgeon attempts to return a majority of SNP MSPs to Holyrood.
Other parties have described Mr Salmond as “discredited” and have questioned his suitability for public office.