Alex Salmond has decided to stand for a Westminster seat at next year’s General Election, according to reports.
The former SNP leader, who stood down as Scotland’s first minister after defeat in the independence referendum, is said to be preparing to contest the Gordon constituency in Aberdeenshire.
The seat is currently held by Sir Malcolm Bruce, a Liberal Democrat MP, who has announced that he is standing down at the next election.
At the last election in 2010 Sir Malcolm won 17,575 votes – a majority of 6,748. The SNP candidate Richard Thomson came second with 10,827.
Mr Salmond, who was previously an MP from 1987 to 2010, is expected to announce his decision on Sunday.
His Scottish parliamentary constituency of Aberdeenshire East already covers much of the area.
One of Mr Salmond’s closest aides told the Sunday Herald : “Alex can win this seat for the SNP, given that he already represents the greater part of it in the Scottish Parliament.
“His candidature will be a strong sign that the SNP intend to contest the Westminster elections to win, with a view to enforcing the vows made to the Scottish people in the referendum.
“There is great excitement that Gordon will be seen as a key seat in ensuring that Scotland makes progress and that the Westminster parties are not allowed to renege on their commitments to Scotland.
“There is no-one better able to rumble up Westminster and enforce the vow than Alex Salmond.”
The disclosure comes after Mr Salmond hinted in a television appearance that he was considering the move.
Asked on the BBC’s Question Time in October if he would consider a return to Westminster, he told the host David Dimbleby: “The answer to your question David, absolutely decisively I can tell you I haven’t made up my mind. So you’ll have to wait and see.
“But I tell you what, when I do make up my mind, you invite me back on to Question Time and I’ll tell you why I did it.”
Asked if that meant the move was “not a closed door”, Mr Salmond said: “You can take that from what I’ve just told you David, that’s right”.