The wheels will come off the SNP juggernaut if it wins a third term, claims a a former MP running for Holyrood.

Alan Reid, who used to represent Argyll and Bute in Westminster, said governments in their third term often come “unstuck” as they lose the ability to deflect criticism.

The ex-parliamentarian is one of just four of the unionists ousted in May's was reflecting on his time as an MP and his run for the seat of Argyll and Bute at the Holyrood elections in the New Year.

He said: “If the SNP do get back in, the third term is when governments often get unstuck.

"It’s difficult to sustain a government beyond a third term. So I think even if they get back in the chickens will come home to roost.

"The Forth Bridge is an example of what happens to governments. I think the wheels will come off in the third term."

Unlike many of his former Westminster colleagues Mr Reid, a Liberal Democrat in a marginal seat, was always realistic about his chances at this year’s general election.

He lost his constituency of 14 years with a swing of 14.5 per cent to the SNP candidate, Brendan O’Hara.

But despite the tsunami leaving just three non-SNP MPs left in the UK parliament and the virtual wipe-out of Liberal Democrats, Mr Reid is optimistic that his party can rise again.

"I think we’ve a reasonable chance of making a good comeback, we will no longer be defending a government’s record, which was always a difficult thing to do.

"Our opponents, the SNP do have a record to defend. So I think it will be a completely different type of election and I think there’s a reasonable chance we can get seats back.

"WThe country seems to be dividing itself into the Yes and No camps.

"So I think we’ll see a lot of tactical voting by people who were no voters," he said.

After winding up his constituency office, the former parliamentarian took a holiday and kept himself busy by completing long overdue jobs around the house.

He was also able to catch up with friends he had previously only been able to snatch phone calls with.

"Being the MP, particularly for a widespread rural community like Argyll and Bute, it was just 14 years being on the go round the clock. Christmas was about the only time you got off, unless there was some natural disaster, which happened two or three times. It was 14 years of non-stop work," he explained.

The politician is relishing his new challenge of standing in the Scottish parliamentary constituency of Argyll and Bute and said: "It’s great being able to campaign full time. When I was the MP I was spending four days a week in London and when I was first a candidate I had a job to do. So it’s great to be able to campaign full time. I’m really enjoying it."