Former first minister Alex Salmond says he would not apologise to Nicola Sturgeon for his past behaviour and it is “high time” people “moved on” from his appearance at the High Court on sexual assault charges.
Mr Salmond was acquitted of all charges by jury following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2020.
The Alba Party leader visited Dundee on Tuesday afternoon for a campaign rally in the city centre that was attended by around 50 people.
Speaking to the press, he said “apologies had been made 10 years ago” and accepted, and that the Alba campaign was about “the national, not the personal”.
He told supporters that despite not “having friends in the press… Alba was rising”.
Mr Salmond believes he would be able to work with Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP should he be elected as a member of the North East regional list next week.
“Whatever differences politicians have, any sensible politician accepts the verdict of the people,” he said.
“Nicola Sturgeon is a sensible politician and so am I and I will cooperate with anyone putting forward the independence case.”
He added: “Apologies were made 10 years ago and accepted. Apologies were made last year in the court case.
“The verdict of the jury was innocent and I think it is high time everyone accepted the jury verdict and moved on.
“That’s what people round the country want to see. They want to see people moving on and talking about the future of politics in Scotland.
“That’s why I am saying in this campaign it is all about the national, not the personal.”
Mr Salmond denied he had taken his “eye off the ball” regarding Scotland’s drugs deaths while leader of the country.
Since he became first minister and the SNP the party of government in 2007, Scotland’s drugs deaths rate has more than doubled.
Dundee has the highest rate of drugs deaths in Scotland, at 482 per million people.
Earlier this month first minister Nicola Sturgeon said her government had “taken its eye off the ball” regarding the crisis.
When asked if he had done the same, Mr Salmond said: “No, I think every political party in Scotland should accept responsibility for the record they had in office.
“I think the drugs policy we had was very soundly based. But I think it would be very wrong now not to accept more should have and could have been done and perhaps we need a reorientation of drugs policy.
“The progress in certain areas we made were hindered by Westminster. But that should not stop a re-evaluation and if the first minister is going re-evaluate in future then she will have Alba’s support.”
Leaflets ‘already printed’
Mr Salmond addressed his “non-appearance” on Alba Party election materials as a result of time constraints made by the Post Office before he had become a member of the party.
He said: “Those leaflets were drafted and submitted to the Post Office before I was involved with Alba.
“This party is four weeks old and I have been a member for four weeks. I am afraid, given the timescales in the Post Office, you have to arrange to get the information in on a much longer timescale, so if you care to look at any of our current literature or party broadcast… we are not a single-person political party, we would never make that mistake.
“We are a party of 32 candidates, 18 women and 14 men of astonishing experience.
“We know we don’t have many friends in the press and that is fair enough.”