Salmond pledges to end ‘uncivil war’ with Sturgeon camp

Alex Salmond has pledged to end the “uncivil war” with Nicola Sturgeon’s camp which developed amid the fallout from sexual misconduct allegations against him.

The former first minister said he wants to see an end to ill-tempered exchanges between his camp and supporters of Ms Sturgeon.

He said the First Minister should be focusing all her energies on independence and that “Westminster’s Brexit difficulty should be Scotland’s opportunity”.

Mr Salmond won a legal challenge against the Scottish Government over its handling of the allegations – which he denies – made by two women and dating back to when he was first minister.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

The Scottish Government has announced a review of what happened, with Ms Sturgeon also referring the case to independent advisers to consider if she breached the ministerial code during meetings and phone calls with her predecessor.

There is an ongoing police investigation into the allegations.

Mr Salmond said he is not getting involved in further exchanges after supporters of Ms Sturgeon suggested there has been an attempt to “smear” her.

He told the Sunday National: “There is nothing the unionist press like more than creating an internal SNP spat. It is the easiest thing in the world to bounce off quotes and briefings of people to provoke a response.

“I have told my team that we are not getting involved. This ‘uncivil war’ stops now.”

Mr Salmond told the newspaper: “Nicola should be concentrating all her energies on the independence agenda where we will never have better circumstances.

“As far as I am concerned Westminster’s Brexit difficulty should be Scotland’s opportunity.”

He said there is “not likely to be a better time to force the issue”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “As the First Minister has made clear, she will update the position on independence in the coming weeks – even if the Brexit timetable is prolonged by an extension of Article 50.”

An SNP spokesman said: “With the clock ticking down to Brexit date – and with the Tory government incapable of governing and Labour incapable of effectively opposing – the SNP will continue to focus on standing up for Scotland’s interests in the face of a disastrous Tory-driven Brexit and further austerity, and setting out the case for Scotland thriving as an independent nation.”

Scottish Conservative chief whip Maurice Golden said: “The war between the SNP’s two biggest egos is intensifying by the day.

“When they’re not feuding over the complaints against Alex Salmond’s conduct, they’re fighting about the timing of another independence referendum.

“By taking the threat of another vote off the table, Nicola Sturgeon would reassure the Scottish population who don’t want a rerun, and put Alex Salmond back in his box.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie urged the SNP to abandon plans for another referendum.

He said: “The First Minister must not inflict another divisive referendum on our country in a desperate bid to heal the divisions in the SNP.

“That’s exactly what the Conservatives did with Europe and look where that got us. The SNP should ditch their plans for another referendum and instead work with genuine pro-Europeans to avoid the chaos of Brexit.”