Alex Salmond has told an Alba meeting in Inverness that resigning as first minister was the "biggest mistake of his life".

In a barely-disguised swipe at his successor, Nicola Sturgeon, who took over the role in 2014, Mr Salmond said he wished he had "stuck around" in the role in opposition to Brexit and Boris Johnson's prime ministership.

He said: “The biggest mistake of my life was resigning as First Minister because if someone told me within two years we would have Brexit and Boris Johnson then I may have stuck around.


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“The tragedy of the heaven sent opportunity of the UK Tory party taking Scotland out of the EU and then premiership of Boris Johnson, the greatest strategic opportunity in Scottish political history was just frittered away.”

As reported by the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, the Alba leader told a meeting that the SNP government had "effectively turned its back on the Highlands" over the failure to dual the vital A9 road.

Speaking alongside Alba's newest recruit, the disaffected Highland councillor Karl Rosie who defected from the SNP, he claimed a new, but as yet unreleased, poll indicated his party could gain as many as 24 seats at the next Holyrood elections.

He added that he plans to make a return to the Scottish Parliament at the 2026 elections.

“Now Alba wants to see new ideas and initiatives coming from the Highlands itself,” he said.

“That’s the purpose of asking Councillor Karl Rosie to gather together a manifesto for the Highlands and Islands to tackle key problems such as the twin scourges of depopulation and lack of affordable housing.

“Our task in Alba is to make sure that we are in a position in the next Scottish Parliament to ensure that it is implemented.”

Fergus Ewing last week told the Holyrood Sources podcast at a live event in Edinburgh that "the big beneficiary of the 2026 election will be Alex Salmond and the Alba Party", adding that Yes supporters who do not want the Greens will swing to Alba.

Mr Salmond also confirmed the party will field at least one candidate in the general election in the Highlands.

He added: “Independence for Scotland goes hand in hand with home rule for the Highlands.

“The job of the Scottish Government is to provide the infrastructure required to allow the Highlands and Islands to flourish whether it be roads in the mainland, ferries to the islands or electronic infrastructure everywhere.

“As First Minister, I demonstrated that commitment by holding cabinet meetings in Inverness, Caithness, Inveraray, Moray and the Northern and Western Isles.

"Each of these meetings committed promises to north communities and indeed many were honoured like the University of the Highlands and Islands.

“However, over the last 10 years, the SNP government has effectively turned its back on the Highlands, much to the frustration of outstanding local representatives such as Fergus Ewing MSP and Angus Brendan MacNeil MP.

“I made a firm commitment to complete the dualling of the A9 to Inverness by 2025 at a historic cabinet meeting in Inverness Town House in 2008.

"It was ready to roll by May 2012 but was subsequently downgraded in the capital plans.”

He said: “I can tell you that if I had remained as First Minister the A9 would have been finished.”