Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Kirsteen Paterson
14 June 2023
Alex Salmond tells Humza Yousaf to sweep Sturgeon 'nonsense' away

Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon pictured at SNP conference in 2012

Alex Salmond tells Humza Yousaf to sweep Sturgeon 'nonsense' away

Alex Salmond has rubbished the legacy of his successor Nicola Sturgeon in a new interview.

Salmond, whose pro-independence Alba party now seeks to win votes from the SNP, has said Scotland's party of government faces a "potential extinction event" following Sturgeon's arrest.

The friendship between Salmond and Sturgeon, who worked closely together as leaders of the SNP and Scottish Government, turned to enmity after he was accused of sexual misconduct. That matter arose five years after he left office and saw him leave the SNP. He was cleared of all charges in a High Court trial.

Sturgeon was arrested last week as part of a long-running Police Scotland investigation into the SNP’s finances and was released without charge. In a statement, she said she is "innocent of any wrongdoing". While some SNP figures have called for Sturgeon's suspension from the party, pending the outcome of the investigation, others sent her flowers in a gesture of support. 

First Minister Humza Yousaf, who is Sturgeon's successor, has described her as the "most impressive politician in Europe". In an interview with Sky News, Salmond was asked for his opinion. He said: "She had some of the most substantial communication skills that politics certainly in the UK have ever seen, but she left a very difficult policy legacy for her successor. 

"She left a rather difficult position on independence by going to the Supreme Court for reasons that no one's been able to fathom and getting the idea of a Scottish-run referendum disallowed and she's left a difficult policy agenda in the Scots parliament full of pretty absurd and silly policies like self-identification, closing fishing areas, bottle schemes, abolishing some trials by jury.

"You're never going to get a majority of Scots behind such policies and my strong advice to Humza Yousaf is to sweep that nonsense away, concentrate on the key issues of housing, education, health, and restore confidence in the Scottish Government's running of the Scottish Parliament.

"Get back the reputation for competence and efficiency and common sense that used to be the bulwark of why people respected the Scottish Parliament so much."

The comments follow an interview with the Holyrood Sources podcast, in which Salmond said: "The SNP as a political party is facing a potential - I was going to say extinction event. Maybe that's a bit alarming, but if you don't chance course, then that's where it's heading."

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Kirsteen Paterson - Reshaping Scottish public services: What should reform look like?.

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top