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Key dates in Alex Salmond’s career

The former first minister has led the SNP twice and been elected to both the UK and Scottish parliaments.

Key dates in the career of Scotland’s former first minister Alex Salmond.

December 31, 1954: Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond is born in Linlithgow, West Lothian – the same town that was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.

1973: Joins the SNP while a student at St Andrews University.

June 1987: Elected to Westminster in the general election, winning the seat of Banff and Buchan from the Conservatives.

March 1988: Less than a year after being elected, Mr Salmond makes headlines when he disrupts chancellor Nigel Lawson’s budget speech in the House of Commons. The incident results in him being suspended from the House for a week.

September 1990: Becomes leader of the SNP for the first time.

Alex Salmond with newly elected SNP MPs in 1997 (PA)

September 1997: A referendum to establish the new Scottish Parliament is held, with Mr Salmond and his SNP campaigning alongside Labour and the Liberal Democrats for a Yes vote.

May 1999: As well as being the MP for Banff and Buchan, Mr Salmond is elected as MSP for the same constituency in the first elections to the devolved Scottish Parliament. He becomes leader of the opposition, with Labour joining forces with the Liberal Democrats in a coalition government.

July 2000: Mr Salmond announces he is to stand down as SNP leader to concentrate on Westminster. He is succeeded in the post by John Swinney.

June 2004: After Mr Swinney resigns as SNP leader, Mr Salmond says he has no intention of returning – but later announces he will stand for the leadership, telling reporters: “I changed my mind.” He is elected party leader with Nicola Sturgeon his deputy.

Mr Salmond returned as SNP leader in 2004 with Nicola Sturgeon as deputy, a political partnership that lasted a decade (Andrew Milligan/PA)

May 2007: Mr Salmond returns to Holyrood, winning the Gordon constituency. The SNP becomes the largest party in the Scottish Parliament and Mr Salmond is elected as Scotland’s first SNP first minister, leading a minority administration at Holyrood.

May 2011: Mr Salmond leads the SNP to a landslide victory in the Scottish Parliament election, with the party winning 69 of the 129 seats.

2012: Mr Salmond formally launches the Scottish Government’s consultation on plans to hold an independence referendum and later signs the Edinburgh Agreement with prime minister David Cameron, paving the way for the ballot.

David Cameron and Mr Salmond shake hands after signing the Edinburgh Agreement (Gordon Terris/The Herald/PA)

September 2014: Voters across Scotland go to the polls in the referendum, where they are asked “Should Scotland be an independent country?”.
In the historic ballot, 45% vote Yes, with the majority 55% opting to stay in the UK. Mr Salmond announces his intention to step down as SNP leader and first minister and is succeeded in both posts by Ms Sturgeon in November.

May 2015: Mr Salmond returns to Westminster as MP for Gordon in an SNP landslide of Scottish seats less than a year after the independence referendum. He becomes the party’s foreign affairs spokesman.

Alex Salmond arrives for the State Opening of Parliament in 2015 (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

June 2017: In a snap general election, Mr Salmond loses his seat to the Conservatives but in a concession speech he quotes a Jacobite song, saying: “You’ve not seen the last of my bonnets and me.”

August 2017: Mr Salmond stages a chatshow during the Edinburgh Fringe, featuring guests including Brexit Secretary David Davis. After a sold-out run, the show tours Scotland before Mr Salmond announces it is to become a TV show on Russian broadcaster RT.

August 2018: The former first minister denies claims of harassment made against him and launches a court action against the Scottish Government to contest the complaints process that was activated against him.

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