NICOLA Sturgeon "lost her nerve" on independence and has never recovered it, Alex Salmond has said. 

The former First Minister also said many in the SNP leadership are "among the most graceless people I've ever come across". 

It comes after he admitted his Alba Party is unlikely to make an electoral breakthrough as initial results indicate it has failed to attract support.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond concedes Alba Party unlikely to make electoral breakthrough

Appearing on the Through A Scottish Prism podcast, Mr Salmond attacked the mainstream media and said Alba was "shut out" of the TV debates.

Elsewhere, he accused the SNP of "Grand Old Duchess of York behaviour" and "prevaricating" over independence. 

He said: "I think Alba is needed because it's filling a vacuum, and I think it will grow because...Nicola will prevaricate. 

"Nicola lost her nerve on independence back in 2017 and has never recovered it – it's as simple as that."

He said Alba will grow when it is demonstrated the party's argument is correct, adding: "There will be a million wasted SNP votes on the regional list."

Mr Salmond also attacked senior SNP figures, calling the party's MP John Nicolson "the ultimate poser" who has "done nothing whatsoever for the independence movement of any shape or form in his puff".

He said: "Many of the SNP leadership are among the most graceless people I've ever come across." 

Yesterday, Mr Salmond conceded to the BBC that Alba is unlikely to make an electoral breakthrough. 

He said: "Whether we will make it tomorrow, I don't think so on the results we've seen. 

"But we've put up a good, substantial show and I think probably we'll take out of this election that the arguments we've been putting forward are going to be proven to be correct.

"Firstly that independence should be front and centre of election campaigns if we want to persuade people to vote for it.

"And secondly, it looks like, although it's not certain just now, that the SNP will be poised on an overall majority but there won't be the backing in terms of the enthusiasm for getting on with the independence referendum. 

READ MORE: SNP hold most marginal seat of Perthshire South

"And crucially, it seems that perhaps a million, perhaps even more than a million, SNP votes on the regional list are going to elect perhaps one, perhaps two MSPs on that section of the ballot paper across Scotland. What a waste."

Alba candidates stood on the regional lists across Scotland in the hope of attracting votes from pro-independence Scots. The party argues list votes are “wasted” on the SNP.

Mr Salmond launched Alba on March 26 with the intention of creating a “supermajority” of Yes MSPs to put pressure on Boris Johnson to concede Indyref2 or legitimise other tactics.