Stunned Alex Salmond says Nicola Sturgeon has no ‘obvious successor’ after shock resignation | UK news

There is no “obvious successor” to Nicola Sturgeon, former First Minister Alex Salmond has said.

Party leader Alba told Sky News he was surprised at his successor resignation shock and he feels her personally despite the difficulties in their relationship in recent years.

Her “undoing” as first minister was not limited to a single issue, she added.

He said: “There are a lot of problems just now in terms of implementing the policy Scotland.”

Mr Salmond highlighted the recent controversy surrounding the self-identity debate and the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, which was blocked by the UK government.

He called it a big “mistake”, noting: “Because it was legislation that you could very easily find fault with at least.”

Mr Salmond also cited the delay in the dualling of the A9, “escalating problems” in health and education and a “looming difficulty” over the bottle deposit return scheme as possible issues that may have led to Ms Sturgeon’s decision.

However, he said: “But none of these things are things you don’t normally deal with.”

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Nicola Sturgeon said her resignation was not a reaction to issues in recent months

“It’s definitely a surprise to me”

Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon, 52, were once close political allies.

She expressed warm feelings about her abilities after announcing her resignation, despite a I am wrong in recent years for allegations of sexual assault against him, among which were cleared in 2020.

He explained that when politicians are faced with a problem, they normally “clear the decks”, deal with it and move on.

He said: “Especially given that her policy was to have a de facto referendum next year at the general election. And you would think that this would be your moment – win it or lose it – it would be your moment to quit.

“Well, I think it’s a surprise to most people, it’s certainly a surprise to me.”

During her resignation speech, Ms Sturgeon denied she was reacting to “short-term pressures” after a series of political setbacks.

Nicola Sturgeon MSP and Alex Salmond (SNP leadership candidates) enjoy a special campaign curry consisting of a caviar-based appetizer called
Ms Sturgeon and Mr Salmond in happier moments of their friendship

Mr Salmond, who was Foreign Secretary from 2007 until losing the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, said Ms Sturgeon was “very good at winning the election”.

He said another of Ms Sturgeon’s great achievements is her political talent as a communicator.

Mr Salmond said: “I mean it was great political communication and it showed in the pandemic.

“You know, there were quite clear messages from Scotland and much less clear messages from Downing Street, so I think that was, I would say, her biggest achievement.”

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Mr Salmond now hopes an independence conference – made up of supporters and members of different political parties – will be established to get indyref “meaningfully back on the road”.

He said there is no “obvious successor” but whoever takes over from Mrs Sturgeon he must try to separate the work of the Scottish Government from the cause of independence.

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Alex Salmond has said there is no “obvious successor” to Nicola Sturgeon

“I personally feel for Nikola”

Mr Salmond said: “I feel personally for Nicola today because I was there. I was at that point of resignation but Nicola was the obvious successor in 2014.”

A number of potential candidates to become the new SNP leader have been named, including Finance Minister Kate Forbes, Health Minister Humza Yousaf, Deputy First Minister John Swinney and Angus Robertson, the current Secretary of State for Culture and Foreign Affairs.

Mr Salmond said Ms Forbes, who is currently on maternity leave, seemed like an “incredibly capable young woman” and would have the “advantage of distance” from some of the recent ‘trouble’ of the Scottish Government.

He added: “I’d say it’s more likely to be someone from the new generation than Nicola’s previous generation.”

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