Alex Salmond plots Westminster return

Sources claim he plans to stand at the 2015 general election

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Indy Politics

Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister, is preparing to attempt a Westminster comeback in his political heartland of north-east Scotland.

Sources have told the Independent that he was strongly considering standing for a parliamentary seat in Aberdeenshire. One obvious target would be the constituency of Gordon, which is currently held by the Lib Dem deputy leader Malcolm Bruce, who is stepping down at next year’s general election.

Mr Salmond will be replaced by Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister and the leader of the SNP at the party’s annual conference next week.

Colleagues expect him to try to return to Westminster at the next general election, and he has conspicuously refused to rule out the move.

At the moment he represents Aberdeenshire East in the Scottish parliament. Its boundaries overlap the Westminster seat of Gordon, which Mr Bruce won with a majority of 6,748 over the SNP at the last election.

It has been speculated that Mr Salmond could stand in Glasgow, where SNP support is growing rapidly, or in Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, where the SNP is tipped to oust the Lib Dem Cabinet minister Danny Alexander.

 

But a source close to Mr Salmond said: “He is still contemplating whether to return to Westminster or not. But if he does so, he wants to represent an area where he sat both as an MP and an MSP.”

Mr Salmond hinted at his intentions last month during a speech in his Holyrood constituency. He said: “I’ll always represent the north-east of Scotland.

“I made that clear when I stood down as first minister, I wasn’t giving up on politics. I’ve represented this village as an MP and an MSP.

“This is part of my Scottish Parliamentary constituency, it was part of my Westminster constituency. I’ll always represent the north-east of Scotland.”

Mr Salmond told the BBC last month that he had not made up his mind whether to stand as an MP. He said: “You’ll have to wait and see.”

Mr Salmond has been the MSP for Aberdeenshire East since 2007, a seat known as Gordon from 2007 to 2011, having previously served as the MSP for Banff and Buchan from 1999 to 2001. From 1987 to 2010 he sat in Westminster as the MP for Banff and Buchan.

After the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, he represented Banff and Buchan as both MP and MSP for three years. Mr Salmond resigned as SNP leader in 2000 and did not seek re-election to the Scottish Parliament. But he retained his Westminster seat in the 2001 general election.

He was again elected SNP leader in 2004 and the following year held his Banff and Buchan seat at the general election.

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