Friday, 24 October 2014

Will he, won't he?

Last night on BBC Question Time, Alex Salmond was asked whether he would be standing for a Westminster seat at the General Election - and he did not rule it out.  Mr Salmond currently represents the Banff and Buchan constituency as an MSP, and at the time of his resignation he offered to continue to serve as that area's MSP.  However, the Parliamentary constituency that overlaps with Banff and Buchan is Gordon, which is currently held by the LibDems, and the sitting MP, Sir Malcolm Bruce, is standing down at the next election, hence the question.

Given the current polls on General Election voting intentions, it looks as if there will be a greatly increased number of of SNP MPs after the next General Election, to the point where the SNP may hold the balance of power in a hung parliament.  It would therefore make sense to have someone of Alex Salmond's calibre leading those MPs.  I don't think such a grouping would enter formal coalition with any of the major parties, but the SNP have experience of running a minority government, and so are familiar with the approach of taking each piece of legislation on a case-by-case basis.

If this does come to pass, we would be in a situation where Nicola Sturgeon is leading the SNP in Scotland and Alex Salmond leading the SNP MPs in Westminster.  They have made a formidable pairing as First Minister and Deputy First Minister over the past two terms in Holyrood, and would I think, give Scotland a much stronger voice in the UK between them.

Mr Salmond is the Marmite of politicians - people either love him or loathe him.  But however you feel about him, he stands up for Scotland first and foremost and will continue to do so, whether at Holyrood or Westminster.

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