Nick Clegg has called on Tory and Labour supporters to vote tactically in an effort to stop Alex Salmond returning to Westminster.

The Liberal Democrat leader visited Gordon, where the former first minister is hoping to win on May 7 to return to the Commons.

Mr Clegg said only his party is capable of preventing the former SNP leader taking the chance to "strut his stuff" on the Westminster stage and potentially keep a "hapless" minority Labour administration on "life support" in a vote-by-vote deal.

He urged voters across Scotland to put aside traditional party allegiances to support his colleagues in seats where the Lib Dems are facing an SNP challenge.

The Lib Dems face a major battle in Scotland, with high-profile names including Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander facing the prospect of being ousted by the SNP surge.

On a visit to a livestock market in Inverurie, he said Mr Salmond "appears to believe that the Gordon constituency is a pit stop on his international book tour".

On a campaign visit to support Christine Jardine's effort to hold the seat for the Lib Dems, he appealed "to all those voters, they may be Labour voters, they may be Conservative voters, but voters who simply don't want to have their vote taken for granted by Alex Salmond".

He added: "If you want to stop Alex Salmond pocketing your vote and dancing off to strut his stuff on the Westminster stage, the only way to stop him is to vote for Christine Jardine as the next MP for Gordon."