Alex Salmond writes to Theresa May over Russia Today chat show row

Posted On: 
17th November 2017

Alex Salmond has complained to Theresa May after a senior Downing Street figure urged him to "reconsider" his decision to host a chat show on Kremlin-funded TV channel Russia Today.

The first episode of The Alex Salmond Show was broadcast yesterday.
PA Images

In a surprising move, the former SNP leader has written to the Prime Minister claiming it was an attack on free speech.

Mr Salmond has come in for widespread criticism over his decision to sign up with RT, which is widely viewed as a propaganda channel for Vladimir Putin.

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PoliticsHome revealed earlier this week that Number 10 also had misgivings about the move.

A Downing Street source said: "As members of his own party have urged, Mr Salmond might do well to reconsider his curious decision to host a programme on Russia Today.

"This association with a country that seeks to undermine the international order will worry members of the public."

But in his letter to Mrs May, the former Scottish First Minister said: "I need hardly tell you that using the power of your office to seek to dissuade a private citizen from broadcasting on a channel which is duly licensed by the British broadcasting authority, Ofcom, carries with it the most serious possible implications for freedom of speech in this country.

"Will you now tell me by return if this is a genuine quote or not and whether it reflects your position as Prime Minister."

Nicola Sturgeon, Ms Salmond's successor as SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, has said "his choice of channel would not have been my choice".

She added: "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."