Alex Salmond swipes that he 'could have destroyed' Nicola Sturgeon

Alex Salmond has swiped that he could have destroyed Nicola Sturgeon if he wanted to - as polls suggested his new Alba Party faces dismal failure this week.

The ex-First Minister is said to have 'chuckled' as he made the claim in a magazine article examining the disintegration of the alliance with his former protégée.

The bitter civil war between Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon appears to have taken its toll on her independence drive, with polls showing support for splitting the UK has dropped sharply over recent months.

The question of whether the SNP will secure an overall majority at Holyrood now looks in the balance. 

But two surveys today suggested that Mr Salmond tactic of launching Alba to try and secure a separatist 'supermajority' has fallen flat - with the party not set to return any MSPs.

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In the profile for the New Yorker, Ms Sturgeon reveals she felt some of her political opponents, including Mr Salmond, had been trying to 'break her'.

But when that was put to Mr Salmond he reportedly responded that if he wanted to 'destroy her' then 'that could have been done'. 

Alex Salmond (pictured campaigning yesterday) is said to have 'chuckled' as he made the claim in a magazine article examining the disintegration of the alliance with his former protégée

Alex Salmond (pictured campaigning yesterday) is said to have 'chuckled' as he made the claim in a magazine article examining the disintegration of the alliance with his former protégée

In the profile for the New Yorker, Ms Sturgeon (visiting a farm in Edinburgh today) reveals she felt some of her political opponents, including Mr Salmond, had been trying to 'break her'

In the profile for the New Yorker, Ms Sturgeon (visiting a farm in Edinburgh today) reveals she felt some of her political opponents, including Mr Salmond, had been trying to 'break her'

An Alba spokesman insisted Mr Salmond had merely been 'laughing at how ridiculous the suggestion was'. 

The former friends and colleagues both spoke to the magazine as part of a profile of Ms Sturgeon.

The First Minister details a meeting held with him at her home on April 2, 2018.

She has always insisted this was where Mr Salmond first told her of harassment claims made against him.

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Ms Sturgeon said: 'I remember leaving the room at one point. I think I said that I was going to make a cup of tea, and going to the bathroom and feeling physically sick.'

And she revealed that opponents who had called on her to resign had come close to breaking her during the Scottish parliament inquiry.

She said: 'I think my political opponents – I don't know, maybe Alex himself – there was an element of ''We can break her'', you know?

'Almost kind of personally as well as politically. That was how it felt. And, you know, there were days when they might have come closer than they knew. But they didn't.'

The author of the New Yorker article wrote: 'When I asked him [Mr Salmond] why he had tried to destroy his former protégée he chuckled for several seconds. ''If I wanted to destroy her, that could have been done''.'

Despite being close allies and friends for nearly 30 years, the relationship between Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon completely broke down after two women made harassment complaints against the former First Minister in 2018.

Mr Salmond was later cleared of 13 sexual assault charges, including attempted rape, at the High Court in Edinburgh.

However, a legal battle with the Scottish Government led to years of bitter feuding – with Mr Salmond awarded more than £500,000 in taxpayers' cash after a court found a government probe into claims against him

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