ALEX Salmond has accepted a nomination to carry on as leader of Alba.

The former first minister said he was “proud” to lead the party as he outlined ambitious plans to establish the group as the third force in Scottish politics.

Ahead of Alba’s inaugural conference in September, Salmond hailed the party as the fastest-growing in Europe.

He told the Sunday Mail: “Alba is on the move and I am proud to accept the nomination to be the first-ever elected leader of this emerging party.

“We are heading for bronze medal position behind the SNP and Labour in Scottish politics.

“The difference is that Alba are now Europe’s fastest growing political party, and on the way up, while they are on the way down.”

READ MORE: Alex Salmond's Alba Party welcomes 65-year SNP veteran as 6000th member

The former SNP leader set up the party in the lead up to May’s Holyrood election.

Two MPs and several councillors defected from the SNP to Alba, but the party failed to win any seats in the Scottish Parliament election.

Salmond had hoped to help secure a pro-independence “supermajority”, but his party won just 1.7% of the regional vote.

Earlier this week, Alba welcomed its 6000th member.

SNP activist Moira Brown, who spent 65 years in the party, signed up for Alba saying she wanted faster progress to Scottish independence.

Salmond presented MBrown with a Scotland football strip with the number 6000 as he made a surprise visit to her home.