SNP MP Joanna Cherry has said Alex Salmond's 'not guilty' verdict should be respected, and that he should be welcomed back to the SNP.

Speaking in The Times today, Ms Cherry called for Mr Salmond's "place in the party's history" to be "reinstated".

She said: “In relation to Alex, I had good reason to believe that he was not guilty. I said publicly at the time that he was entitled to the presumption of innocence, and I trusted in the legal system to vindicate him. And it did.

“What I’ll say about that is I was brought up to stand by my friends by my parents, that’s the sort of family I come from. That’s why I’ve stood by him. It’s rather a comment on modern life that so few did.”

She continued: “One person you could always turn to for support and advice was him.

 “He was always the first person on the phone. We’ve had some real humdingers of arguments about policy and stuff, but I am fond of him.”

Cherry added: “I want to see him as a member of the party again and I want his place in the party’s history reinstated,” she said. “The not guilty verdict needs to be respected by all of us.

Alex Salmond was acquitted of 12 charges of attempted rape, sexual assault and indecent assault in March, after charges involving nine women - all government officials - were brought to trial. 

Ms Cherry said: “Of course women should be able to make complaints, and you should have a fair and transparent complaints process, but you must also be fair to the person being complained against.

“You can’t substitute your feelings for the verdict of the court.”

The MP for Edinburgh South West also said it irritates her when people call her a "Salmondite."

She said: “I get really irritated when people say I’m just a Salmondite, or an ally of Alex Salmond, because I’m not.

“I have my own views about how to do things, and if people look at the sort of career I’ve had in politics my approach has been mine.”

Also in the interview, Ms Cherry is quoted as saying Nicola Sturgeon acted to prevent her from standing for Holyroodd, by denying her access to an NEC meeting discussing dual mandates.

However, Cherry has now accused The Times of misquoting her, and insists Nicola Sturgeon "acted appropriately".

In a statement released this morning, she said: “In today’s Times Scotland interview with me there is a significant error regarding the attempt by a small group of SNP NEC members to deselect me as an MP last September.

"I was grateful to Nicola Sturgeon at the time for stepping in to prevent this. She acted appropriately. 

“The issue regarding me being prevented from joining the meeting by phone link was down to a staff member at HQ and not the First Minister.

"The Times Scotland have been contacted to correct this substantial error which is theirs not mine.”