The highs and lows in Alex Salmond's career

Alex Salmond has spent a lifetime in politics, most of it in high-profile positions.

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond has resigned from the party he led for 20 years after allegations of sexual harassment emerged.

Mr Salmond announced the decision on Wednesday evening in a video posted on YouTube.

He denies the accusations and is taking court action against the Scottish Government to contest the complaints process activated against him.

The politician has also announced a crowdfunding campaign in a bid to raise £50,000 to cover his legal costs.

Here, we look back at some of the key moments from his career so far.

December 31, 1954: Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond is born in Linlithgow, West Lothian – the same town that was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots.

1973: Joins the SNP while a student at St Andrews University.

June 1987: Elected to Westminster in the general election, winning the seat of Banff and Buchan from the Conservatives.

March 1988: Less than a year after being elected, Salmond makes headlines when he disrupts chancellor Nigel Lawson’s budget speech in the House of Commons.

The incident results in him being suspended from the House for a week.

Alex Salmond, then Scottish Nationalist MP for Banff and Buchan in Parliament Square, after his removal from the House of Commons in 1988. Credit: PA

September 1990: Becomes leader of the SNP for the first time.

September 1997: A referendum to establish the new Scottish Parliament is held, with Salmond and his SNP campaigning alongside Labour and the Liberal Democrats for a Yes vote.

Neil Smith (left, Chairman of Scotland Forward), Alex Salmond (SNP leader), Donald Dewar (Scottish Secretary) and Menzies Campbell in Edinburgh for the launch of the YES campaign in August 1997. Credit: PA

May 1999: As well as being the MP for Banff and Buchan, Salmond is elected as MSP for the same constituency in the first elections to the devolved Scottish Parliament.

He becomes leader of the opposition, with Labour joining forces with the Liberal Democrats in a coalition government.

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond celebrates victory in 1999 in Macduff, after being elected as a Member of the Scottish Parliament for Banff and Buchan. Credit: PA

July 2000: Salmond announces he is to stand down as SNP leader to concentrate on Westminster.

He is succeeded in the post by John Swinney.

June 2004: After Mr Swinney resigns as SNP leader, Salmond said he has no intention of returning – but later announces he will stand for the leadership, telling reporters: "I changed my mind."

He is elected party leader with Nicola Sturgeon his deputy.

Mr Salmond returned as SNP leader in 2004 with Nicola Sturgeon as deputy, a political partnership that lasted a decade Credit: PA

May 2007: Salmond returns to Holyrood, winning the Gordon constituency.

The SNP becomes the largest party in the Scottish Parliament and Salmond is elected as Scotland’s first SNP first minister, leading a minority administration at Holyrood.

Scottish National party leader Alex Salmond and wife Moira celebrate as he departs the Scottish Parliament after he is voted First Minister in Edinburgh in 2007. Credit: PA

May 2011: Salmond leads the SNP to a landslide victory in the Scottish Parliament election, with the party winning 69 of the 129 seats.

2012: Salmond formally launches the Scottish Government’s consultation on plans to hold an independence referendum and later signs the Edinburgh Agreement with prime minister David Cameron, paving the way for the ballot.

David Cameron and Salmond shake hands after signing the Edinburgh Agreement. Credit: PA

September 2014: Voters across Scotland go to the polls in the referendum, where they are asked “Should Scotland be an independent country?”.

In the historic ballot, 45% vote Yes, with the majority 55% opting to stay in the UK.

Salmond announces his intention to step down as SNP leader and first minister and is succeeded in both posts by Sturgeon in November.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond during his last FMQs at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh in 2014. Credit: PA

May 2015: Salmond returns to Westminster as MP for Gordon in an SNP landslide of Scottish seats less than a year after the independence referendum.

He becomes the party’s foreign affairs spokesman.

Alex Salmond arrives for the State Opening of Parliament in 2015. Credit: PA

June 2017: In a snap general election, Salmond loses his seat to the Conservatives but in a concession speech he quotes a Jacobite song, saying: "You’ve not seen the last of my bonnets and me."

August 2017: Salmond stages a chat-show during the Edinburgh Fringe, featuring guests including Brexit Secretary David Davis.

After a sold-out run, the show tours Scotland before Salmond announces it is to become a TV show on Russian broadcaster RT.

August 2018: The former first minister denies claims of harassment made against him and launches a court action against the Scottish Government to contest the complaints process that was activated against him.