Alex Salmond has claimed Nicola Sturgeon is using independence as a “political shield” in a scathing attack on his protege’s record in office.
The former First Minister reopened his war of words with Ms Sturgeon by arguing she was trying to deflect voters’ attention from a litany of policy failures.
Mr Salmond’s salvo comes as his former friend prepares to overtake him as Scotland’s longest-serving First Minister.
On Wednesday she will mark seven years and 186 days in the top job.
Mr Salmond claimed he had increased support for independence during his seven-and-a-half years in office by demonstrating “competence in government”.
But he said Ms Sturgeon’s SNP-Green coalition was now using independence “as a shield for problems of policy delivery”.