Former SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has dismissed the Conservatives’ “presumptuous” ambitions to capture his Gordon constituency on June 8th as “vainglorious boasts”.
On 6 May, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson pointed out that her party “won the local government election in Gordon this week, beating the SNP into second place”.
She added: “It means that in this seat, as in many others, it is a two-horse race between us and the Nationalist.” She then stated her belief the party has a “pretty good” chance of toppling the SNP grandee.
62-year-old Salmond has fired back at the Tory politician’s “presumptuous announcements”, however, predicting they will only “galvanise the SNP support”.
“Boasting before an election is an extremely foolish thing to do. The people have their say at the ballot box and I think the north-east of Scotland has a way of bringing people who make vainglorious boasts down to earth with a sharp bump,” he predicted.
Alex Salmond getting a bit desparate. Crowdfunder appeal only raised £785. So Nicola Sturgeon is retweeting it. Spare change anyone?
— Ian Burnett (@Ian_Burnett_) May 8, 2017
Moray, which has the highest concentration of Leave voters in Scotland, is another high-profile target. It serves as the seat of the SNP’s leader in the House of Commons, Angus Robertson.
It is thought that around a third of SNP supporters voted to Leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, with the strongest support for Brexit being found in the fishing communities, which Salmond once described as having been devastated by “the dead hand of Brussels mismanagement”.
Some senior party figures, such as former Cabinet Secretary Alex Neil, who did not endorse Brexit but confessed to voting for it in the privacy of the polling station, have expressed concern that the party’s commitment to EU membership may damage its prospects.
Two SNP MPs have already broken ranks with the party to back a fishing pledge which would commit Scotland to withdrawing from the EU’s Single Market.