ONE of Alex Salmond’s defence witnesses at his recent trial has described him as an insecure “creep”.

Alex Bell, who was a special adviser to the former First Minister, said Mr Salmond had been cleared of sexual assault charges by effectively arguing “I’m sleazy, but not criminal”.

Mr Bell said: “A married, avowedly Christian man is revealed as a creep.”

Writing in the Courier newspaper, Mr Bell suggested his old boss, driven by insecurity, was now hell-bent on proving he was the victim of a conspiracy, even if it damaged the SNP and Scotland.

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He said the party was dividing into two camps, those who support Mr Salmond and those around Nicola Sturgeon, and “the two camps can only tear each other apart”.

He said: “Salmond’s character has already been smeared, by his own defence team. Sturgeon’s is about to be trashed, on a theme of ‘who knew what and when’.”

Mr Salmond was cleared of all 13 sexual assault charges he faced on Monday after a two-week trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

He signalled afterwards he would reveal evidence he could not present in court showing there was a concerted effort to discredit him.

He is now writing a book about what he called the ‘nightmare’ of the past two years.

One of the allegations Mr Salmond faced was that he assaulted a civil servant known as Woman B by grabbing her wrists and attempting to kiss her in Bute House.

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Woman B told the court the alleged evening incident was “like wrestling with an octopus”.

Mr Bell, then Mr Salmond’s head of policy, said two other members of the First Minister’s staff asked him to go up to the drawing room as Woman B was alone with Mr Salmond.

Asked by prosecutor Alex Prentice QC why he had gone back upstairs, Mr Bell told the court: “To ensure that the welfare of my colleague was OK”.

The jury returned a not guilty verdict on the charge.

In his article, Mr Bell, a pungent critic of Mr Salmond’s political strategy in the past, said: “When your best defence is ‘I’m sleazy but not criminal’, it’s nothing to smile about.”

Arguing Mr Salmond would now be out for revenge on the Scottish Government, Ms Sturgeon and others he blamed for his situation, he said: “Salmond is driven by a core insecurity which is compensated for by a determination to defeat all comers.

“Why’s he insecure? I’m a writer, not a shrink. What I do know is that he will not step back.

“He’d rather win the argument than be right. Though the two may be confused in his mind.”

He said that as Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon’s respective camps slugged it out, the SNP would look divided.

“Already looking shaky on policy, and weak on independence, they will now be doubted on questions of character and judgement.

“If it weren’t for the unknown virus factor, you could begin to imagine that they won’t win the 2021 Holyrood election.

“That Labour under Keir Starmer might revive. That it’s all over now.

“Salmond’s fightback has begun.”

He added: “In his sights are the majority, governing party the SNP, the Scottish Government, who he may sue for the experience of being falsely accused, and the structure of the state.

“That mouth, so often the source of a barbed remark, or a cheeky grin, is set to start eating Scotland up. He’ll take bites out of everyone if it means he wins the argument.

“He won’t stop, because he can’t, his insecurity drives him to never stop.

“And much as Scotland once swallowed his lines, he now prepares to swallow Scotland.”