Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said he gave his former party a “saving grace” by voting SNP at the General Election.

The Alba Party leader said his party did not field a candidate in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross lost the seat to the SNP after criticism over his decision to stand in place of David Duguid who was receiving hospital treatment.

Mr Salmond, whose public dispute with his former party saw him form Alba, told LBC the SNP was aided by Mr Ross’s “shenanigans”.

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He said: “I voted SNP, because we had no Alba candidate here in the north east of Scotland and I’m one of the few people in Scotland who can say I voted for a successful SNP candidate because in this seat, because of the shenanigans of the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, who stabbed one of his colleagues in the back, metaphorically.

“Many people here decided that’s not the sort of person they wanted representing the north east of Scotland.

“So, this was the SNP’s gain of the election and I and Alba supporters contributed to it, so I’m glad to give the SNP their saving grace.”

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Mr Salmond also rejected the idea that the Scottish independence movement had suffered as a result of the SNP’s poor election results.

The SNP won just nine seats – a drop of 39 from the 2019 election.

Mr Salmond said the movement was “alive and kicking”, adding: “In the election this week the SNP were dealt a devastating blow, but they were judged on their recent record in the Scottish Government.”

Alba stood 19 candidates in the general election but failed to win any seats.