NICOLA Sturgeon has said she does not expect to reconcile with Alex Salmond after the pair’s bitter falling out.

The First Minister said she didn’t think she and her predecessor would ever “go back to the way things were”.

It was a “source of quite deep sadness” for her, she said.

The present and former SNP leaders fell out spectacularly in 2018 after the Scottish Government launched a probe into sexual misconduct claims against Mr Salmond related to his time in office as First Minister.

Mr Salmond successfully challenged the process in a judicial review, showing it had been unfair, unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”, and was awarded £512,00 in legal costs.

A few days after his win in the civil court in January 2019, he was changed with multiple counts of sexual assault, then cleared of all of them in a trial in March 2020.

During the Holyrood inquiry set up to examine the Scottish Government’s doomed defence of the judicial review, Mr Salmond claimed he had been the victim of a high-level plot in the SNP to smear him, and even have him jailed.

He accused Ms Sturgeon’s husband, the SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, of being part of the “concerted and malicious effort” against him, which Mr Murrell denied.

In March, Mr Salmond then launched the Alba party with the aim of taking list votes from the SNP in order to create a ‘supermajority’ for independence at Holyrood.

Ms Sturgeon said it was driven by his ego, while others said he was motivated by revenge.

However during the campaign, Ms Sturgeon said she had once loved Mr Salmond, so close had they been as colleagues, a remark he said was very kind and generous of her.

But asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show if there was “any chance of a personal rapprochement”, Ms Sturgeon said: “I don’t think Alex Salmond and I are going to go back to the way things were. 

“There is nothing about what has happened around Alex Salmond in the last few years that gives me any pleasure whatsoever. 

“It is a source of quite deep sadness to me, and that's personal obviously, the politics are separate.”