Tom Gordon

ALEX Salmond's former special adviser is being lined up to take over his Holyrood seat.

Jennifer Dempsie has entered the contest to succeed Salmond as the SNP candidate in Aberdeenshire East, it emerged yesterday.

Salmond's majority in the seat at the 2011 Holyrood election was a rock-solid 15,295.

Dempsie, 33, who is also the partner of SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson, said Salmond would be "greatly missed" in the Scottish Parliament.

"It will be a tough act to follow, but if selected, I believe my experience at Holyrood, the Scottish Government, and as an advisor to the former first minister as well as working in PR and journalism in the private sector, will stand me in good stead to deliver on the priorities of the people of Aberdeenshire East."

Labour and the Tories are often criticised for drawing many of their candidates from the ranks of special advisers, leading to the creation of a political class with little life experience.

Previous examples include Ed and David Miliband, Ed Balls and David Cameron.

Salmond is stand downing as an MSP next May to focus on being the MP for Gordon.

One of his other former special advisers, Stephen Gethins, last month became the SNP MP for North East Fife.