Nicola Sturgeon slaps down Alex Salmond over Russia Today chat show
Nicola Sturgeon has slammed her former boss, Alex Salmond, over his controversial decision to host a show on Kremlin-backed broadcaster Russia Today.
The Scottish First Minister criticised the move, saying she would have advised Mr Salmond against appearing on the channel had he consulted her.
The former First Minister will present the Alex Salmond Show on Russia Today, despite it being repeatedly censured by Ofcom for breaking broadcasting guidelines.
His decision to sign up for his own show - which will be produced by Mr Salmond's production company Slainte Media – prompted a backlash from former colleagues, with one SNP MP telling PoliticsHome it was "dangerously undignified".
While SNP MEP Alyn Smyth told The Herald: "What the f*** is he thinking?".
And in a further blow, Ms Sturgeon, who served under Mr Salmond when he was Scottish First Minister, said: "I am sure Alex’s show will make interesting viewing – however, his choice of channel would not have been my choice.
"Of course, Alex is not currently an elected politician and is free to do as he wishes – but had I been asked, I would have advised against RT and suggested he seek a different channel to air what I am sure will be an entertaining show.
“Neither myself nor the SNP will shy away from criticising Russian policy when we believe it is merited.”
Scottish Labour leadership contender Anas Sarwar also rounded on Mr Salmond, saying:
“It demonstrates an astonishing lack of judgement for a former First Minister to host a show on Kremlin-backed TV. Alex Salmond’s decision to become Putin’s puppet in the UK is deeply troubling.
“Nicola Sturgeon can’t laugh this one off – she must demonstrate leadership and condemn this shameful decision.”
An SNP spokesman said: "This is entirely a matter for Alex Salmond , who is not currently an elected politician and as such is free to take on broadcasting and other opportunities of his own choosing, just as those from other parties have done.
"The SNP has no connection to Alex’s company or his media interests.
"The SNP has regularly expressed concern over actions by the Russian government, including reports of persecution on the grounds of race and sexuality, attacks on journalists and concerns about the integrity of the democratic process, and we will continue to pursue these concerns."