Alex Salmond revealed yesterday that the row over the release of the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was the lowest point of his leadership.
Speaking on the day he became Scotland’s longest-serving First Minister, the SNP leader said he would not be going “on and on” in the role, a reference to Lady Thatcher’s famous 1987 post-election interview.
His comments prompted speculation that Mr Salmond could be ready to walk away if he loses the 2014 referendum, but he insisted he had no immediate plans to quit.
The SNP leader officially overtook Lord Jack McConnell yesterday as the longest-serving First Minister as he completed 2,002 days in office.
Asked about his darkest day, Mr Salmond said that governments must deal with “political stooshies” but he added: “The Megrahi issue. I believe, absolutely, Kenny MacAskill took the right decision and for the right reasons and I think that was vindicated. But during that particular stooshie, which had Scottish and international implications, there were some difficult days.
“But if you’re doing the right things, and you believe you’ve done the right things, then that’s a great strength, and of course the election was vindication of that.
“People said the SNP government would never survive taking that decision. In fact, we survived to prosper.”
Mr Salmond, who will turn 58 next month, has been First Minister since May 2007, after making a dramatic comeback as SNP leader in 2004.
[From an article published in today’s edition of The Scotsman.]