JACKSON Carlaw has suggested the Alex Salmond sexual assualt case could end Nicola Sturgeon’s premiership.

The deputy Scottish Conservative leader said the First Minister was already looking for another job and “polishing up her CV”.

The SNP called the comments desperate, utterly tasteless and ill-advised.

Mr Carlaw, the party’s acting leader until Ruth Davidson’s return from maternity leave this week, made the comments at his party’s spring conference in Aberdeen.

He told delegates: “Scotland knows the choice is between Ruth and Nicola.

“There’s Nicola, a politician who turns milk sour on the doorsteps.

“A politician who can see a train coming down the track towards her, even as we stand here today.

“And we can see who the driver is as well. It’s the man who occupied the seat that she’s in before she did. Think about it. It’s no wonder she’s polishing up her CV.”

The comments follow a former SNP Justice Secretary warning the reputations of senior party figures “will be well and truly burnt” in the wake of the sexual assault case involving Mr Salmond.

Writing in the Scotsman, Kenneth MacAskill said the fallout would be “the most significant factor” in the future of the party’s leadership.

“From what I hear, some leading SNP reputations could be well and truly burnt,” he wrote.

“Where that goes, no one knows, but it has to be taken into account.”

Mr Salmond, who was First Minister from 2007 to 2014, appeared in court in January charged with two counts of attempted rape, nine of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and one of breach of the peace.

He strongly denies any criminality.

An SNP spokesperson said: "As the First Minister said this week, the only place her CV is going is to the people of Scotland in the 2021 election.

"These remarks are utterly tasteless and ill-advised given the live criminal proceedings – but it will not surprise anyone that the Scottish Conservatives have abandoned any sense of decency in their desperate hunt for headlines.”

Earlier, Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said Ms Sturgeon should purge her party of abusive trolls and cybernats.

He said the 2014 referendum was “a time of division and discord, a time when dark forces of bigotry and hatred were unleashed, when we were told we were quislings and traitors just for having a different view on Scotland’s constitutional future.

“And it is to the shame of Nicola Sturgeon that she still has people in her party, even in her own cabinet, suggesting that we in this party are somehow traitors to Scotland for opposing the Yes. I would say to her in all seriousness: First Minister, it is time to clean up your party.”