Alex Salmond under pressure to quit Russia Today show in wake of spy attack
Former SNP leader Alex Salmond has come under pressure to quit his Russia Today chat show as tensions mount between London and Moscow.
Mr Salmond was urged to use his next appearance on the Kremlin-backed television station to condemn Russia over the attack on former spy Sergei Skripal or “walk away”.
Alex Cole-Hamilton, a Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP, also accused Mr Salmond of being a “useful idiot” for the Russian regime by taking on the show in the first place.
Mr Salmond has so far resisted the call to cancel the series and has promised to address the “developing crisis” on air.
He has also defended RT since the assassination attempt against Mr Skripal, saying it was “not responsible for the poisoning in Salisbury”.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell announced at the weekend that he would no longer appear on the controversial channel and urged Labour colleagues to do the same.
However, Moscow has warned that it will retaliate if Britain moves to ban RT, with a Russian official saying: "Not a single British mass media outlet will work in our country if they close Russia Today."
Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Alex Salmond needs to end his relationship with Russia Today.
“In the space of a week we’ve seen Vladimir Putin fan anti-Semitism by blaming US election meddling on the Russian-Jewish community and the nerve agent used in a murder plot on British soil traced back to Russian labs.
“Alex Salmond has claimed he has editorial control of his show. If that is true he should condemn these developments. Salmond has played the useful (and well-paid) idiot in RT’s veneer of respectability for long enough.”
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia remain in hospital after being found unconscious on a shopping centre bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, earlier this month.
Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was the first to respond to the incident, is also still receiving treatment.