Scotland politics

Alex Salmond considers Westminster return

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionMr Salmond was appearing as part of a Question Time panel in Liverpool

Alex Salmond has said he has not made up his mind whether or not to stand for a Westminster seat at the next general election.

The outgoing Scottish first minister was asked on the BBC's Question Time programme if he would consider becoming an MP again.

Mr Salmond said he had "absolutely decisively" not made up his mind, but agreed that the door was not closed.

He served as an SNP MP between 1987 and 2010 for Banff and Buchan.

Mr Salmond was asked by presenter David Dimbleby whether he would consider a return to Westminster to fight for the NHS on behalf of English voters.

The first minister replied: "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, invite me back on to Question Time and I'll tell you why I did it."

Dimbleby asked Mr Salmond: "So it is not a closed door?"

Mr Salmond replied: "You can take that from what I have just told you David, that's right".

By Glenn Campbell, BBC Scotland political correspondent

If parliament-hopping was a sport, Alex Salmond would be a medal contender.

While serving as MP for Banff and Buchan (1987-2010) he twice secured a Holyrood seat (in 1999 for a couple of years and again in 2007 when he returned to the SNP leadership).

When he announced his intention to stand down as party leader and first minister following the independence referendum he promised to "continue to offer to serve" as MSP for Aberdeenshire East.

But that does not prevent him from running for Westminster too. A so-called "dual mandate" is allowed.

Targetting the Gordon constituency which overlaps with his Holyrood seat is perhaps the most likely option.

The SNP were the second-placed party there last time and the sitting Liberal Democrat MP, Sir Malcolm Bruce is standing down.

What would be bolder and riskier would be for him to seek the SNP nomination in a Glasgow or North Lanarkshire constituency.

These are areas that traditionally vote Labour but backed independence in the referendum.

If the nationalists are to make gains in west central Scotland they need to persuade 'yes' supporters from all parties and none to vote SNP.

Rumours have circulated about a possible return to Westminster since Mr Salmond announced he was standing down as both SNP leader and first minister in the wake of voters rejecting Scottish independence in last month's referendum. He will be replaced by his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, at the SNP conference in Perth in November.

He said at the time that he would "continue to offer to serve" as MSP for Aberdeenshire East.

But it has been suggested that he would consider running in the Gordon constituency for Westminster, which overlaps with his Holyrood seat.

Gordon is currently held by the veteran Liberal Democrat Sir Malcolm Bruce who is standing down.

In 2010, Sir Malcolm had a majority of 6,748 with the SNP in second place.

Question Time will be broadcast on BBC1 at 22:35 on Thursday 23 October, and will also be available on the BBC iPlayer.

More on this story