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Monday, 17 July, 2000, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Resignation letter in full
Alex Salmond letter graphic
Alex Salmond announced his decision to step down as leader of the Scottish National Party in a letter to party members.

This is the full text of the letter:

Open quote

Today, I have announced that I shall not be seeking re-election as National Convener after a period of 10 years.

I thought I would drop a note to each branch and constituency secretary, SNP councillors and PPCs to explain directly my reasoning for taking this step.

The party is now at its strongest position ever. We are the official opposition in the Scots Parliament, we have over 200 local councillors, we lead the Scottish opinion polls and are at over 30% in the Westminster polls.

I am absolutely convinced that the SNP will win the next Scottish election and take Scotland forward to independence.

I have been fortunate in always being able to count on the grass-roots of the party - please extend that same loyalty to your new national convener

However, translating that political success onto a personal level, that would effectively lock me into a further decade as party leader.

I have decided instead to pass on the torch.

We have demonstrated that we have a strong team in the Scots Parliament and a number of colleagues are well capable of leading the SNP.

In order to give people the full opportunity to submit nominations in this new situation, in consultation with the national secretary, I have extended the deadline for all conference nominations until Friday, 4 August.

'Rare privilege'

It has been a rare privilege to lead the SNP over the past decade. In addition, I have enjoyed myself enormously.

I have no complaints and no regrets.

Neither have I any intention of giving up politics. I have told my own constituency party that I will continue as MSP for Baff and Buchan as long as people wish me to do so, and I hope to serve Scotland in the future in some other capacity.

The SNP is a uniquely democratic political party - you elect your leader and sustain him or her by your support.

I have been fortunate in always being able to count on the grass-roots of the party - please extend that same loyalty to your new national convener.

Yours for Scotland,

Alex Salmond

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17 Jul 00 | Scotland
SNP leadership battle begins
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