Alex Salmond: From youthful economics student to the brink of Scottish independence

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Alex Salmond has today announced his intention to end a 24-year career at the forefront of Scottish politics.

He has been the leader of the Scottish National Party since 1990 - albeit with a four year gap at the start of the millennium - and became the first nationalist to lead the country.

Here is a brief look at Salmond's career in politics:

Alex Salmond was born in Linlithgow in 1954.

He attended St Andrew's University and graduated with a MA in Economics and History.

Alex Salmond in 1988 after his removal from the House of Commons. Credit: PA

He joined the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1980, where he worked for seven years, and his roles included an oil and bank economist.

ITV News Correspondent Martin Geissler reports:

Salmond, who is a Hearts and golf fan, married his wife Moira in 1981 and they live in Strichen, Aberdeenshire.

Salmond and his wife Moira during the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

In 1987, he was first elected as an MP for Banff and Buchan and only three years later he would become leader of the Scottish National Party.

Salmond in the House of Commons in 1995. Credit: PA

Salmond continued as leader until 2000 when he stood down and was replaced by John Swinney.

John Swinney is congratulated by Salmond in 2000. Credit: Ben Curtis/PA Archive

However, he was not away from frontline Scottish politics for long and returned to lead the party in 2004 despite previously declaring that he definitely would not seek nomination.

He returned in 2004 with deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive

In 2007, he was elected as a member of the Scottish Parliament for the Gordon constituency and it was also the year he made history.

Salmond canvassing in 2007 ahead of the Scottish Parliamentary election. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive

Salmond became the first nationalist to be elected as First Minister of Scotland on 16 May after the SNP emerged the largest party in the country with 47 seats to Labour's 46.

The SNP's Alex Salmond after being voted the First Minister of Scotland. Credit: Scottish Parliament/PA Archive
Salmond and wife Moira celebrated as they departed the Scottish Parliament. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Archive

The SNP won by a landslide in the 2011 election and called for a referendum on independence.

Salmond and Sturgeon with the newly elected SNP MSPs in 2011. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Archive

On 15 October 2012, David Cameron and Salmond reached an agreement to hold a referendum on Scotland's future in the autumn of 2014.

David Cameron (right) and Salmond sign a referendum agreement in 2012. Credit: Gordon Terris/The Herald/PA Archive

Years of campaigning ended on 18 September 2014 when millions of Scots went to the polls to cast their ballots on independence.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond outside his home on voting day. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Scotland rejected independence by 55% to 45% and Salmond later decided to resign as First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party.

Salmond announced his resignation as SNP leader and First Minister today. Credit: Scottish Government/PA

Source: Scottish National Party