The former leader of the Scottish National Party, Alex Salmond, has announced he is going to stand for election to Westminster.
The former SNP leader has announced that he will be seeking the seat currently held by Liberal Democrat MP Sir Malcolm Bruce. Sir Bruce however will not be contesting this seat as he is retiring come the general election.
The seat he is vying for will be the 40 year old constituency of Gordon, Mr Salmond has said that the north east of Scotland had been his “political home” since he entered representative politics and he is proud to run there. Salmond currently represents the constituency of Aberdeenshire East in the Scottish Parliament but has confirmed that he will be seeking election in the Gordon constituency.
He said three things had become “self-evident”. Mr Salmond said the Smith Commission had “not measured up to what was promised”. The initial idea for the Smith Commission was for Lord Smith of Kelvin would be given the task of assembling “cross-party talks” which would “facilitate an inclusive engagement process across Scotland”.
The second of the “self-evident” failures as Salmond calls them was that Gordon Brown, “the man who said he would stand guarantor of the vow”, had retired from politics. Although this is true, it seems a rather flimsy excuse considering Gordon Brown alone did not force Scotland to remain in the union. Salmond is using a rather crude method with which to bludgeon Westminster here considering the agreement was with the entire government and not just the former prime minister.
Thirdly, he said he believed the SNP and “progressive allies” could emerge as a “powerful force” within the UK Parliament. This does seem to be an accurate assertion, the current estimates are showing a massive surge in support for the SNP, the SNP appear likely to capture 30 of what were formally Labour seats. Although how many “progressive allies” the SNP are likely to have appears limited, especially considering that Salmond ruled out any potential coalition with the Conservatives after the election. This would appear to indicate that the only group with a large enough block with which the SNP are willing to deal with be Labour, who the SNP will recently have taken double digit seats from.
The retiring Sir Bruce however in response to Salmond announcing his candidacy said “This is not all about Alex Salmond, as he seems to think it is. It’s about the people of Gordon and how their interests are best served. They’re not best served by a man whose mission is to disrupt Westminster, to provoke division and to ignore the way the people voted on that issue.” Mr Bruce also went on to warn Salmond saying “I’ve been out and about in the constituency and he’s not a popular man.”
This candidacy has also been fought against by Bruce’s Liberal Democrat successor, Christine Jardine, who said she would be a “strong voice for all the people of Gordon”. She went on to add that, “The people of Gordon deserve better, just as they deserve an MP who will stand up for what’s important to them, not chase their personal political agenda at the cost of what’s best for the people of the north east,”
Jardine also received support from an unlikely source when the Labour candidate for the Gordon seat, Braden Davy, who said that the people faced a “stark choice” between “the politics of fairness verses the politics of division”. He would continue to say, “Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen overwhelming voted No in the referendum, yet Alex Salmond thinks he can run here and treat Gordon as a runner-up prize,” he said. He would also say, echoing his liberal rival, “Local people deserve better than that.”
Mr Salmond stood down as head of the Scottish National Party following the defeat of the “Yes” campaign which was looking to end Scotland’s affiliation with the United Kingdom.