A SENIOR SNP MP has endorsed online calls for Alex Salmond to replace Nicola Sturgeon as party leader.

Joanna Cherry QC, the SNP’s justice and home affairs spokeswoman, “liked” a series of tweets backing the former First Minister.

It is the latest sign of splits in the party over the handling of sexual harassment allegations against Mr Salmond.

Scottish Tory chief whip Maurice Golden said it was clear Ms Cherry “has no confidence in Nicola Sturgeon”.

HeraldScotland:

Mr Salmond won a judicial review against the Scottish Government earlier this week over its flawed handling of an investigation into complaints against him.

Ms Cherry, who represents Edinburgh South West, has endorsed a number of tweets by others supporting the former SNP leader.

One tweet she backed said: “Personally I would love to see @AlexSalmond back at the helm of the SNP and finally deliver us our independence.”

The tweet was also liked by Zulfikar Sheikh, husband of ex-SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and artistic director of Mr Salmond's TV chat show.

A further post Ms Cherry liked said simply: “I miss Alex.”

Elsewhere, she endorsed tweets calling for the Scottish Government’s Permanent Secretary Leslie Evans to resign.

One tweet she gave her support to read: “I can foresee some resignation letters in the Scottish Government today. Oh dear... Plotting to attack Alex Salmond...and failing. Oh dear...”

Another she liked suggested there had been a “cull of old crew”, those “who carried on for decades and got Indy to where it is now.”

Mr Golden said Ms Cherry had “nailed her colours firmly to the mast”.

He added: “She’s clearly unperturbed by the allegations against him, and has no confidence in Nicola Sturgeon.

"It shows the civil war with the SNP is deepening by the day.”

Ms Cherry could not be reached, but an SNP spokesman said: “There is currently an ongoing police inquiry and we will make no further comment.”