You’re Putin out PR for the Krem­lin

Lib Dem leader claims Sal­mond’s new show le­git­imises Rus­sian med­dling in US elec­tion

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News - Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

Alex Sal­mond has been ac­cused of “le­git­imis­ing” Rus­sian ef­forts to make Don­ald Trump US pres­i­dent with his de­ci­sion to work for a Krem­lin­backed pro­pa­ganda TV net­work.

The for­mer first min­is­ter is to host a weekly pol­i­tics show on Rus­sia To­day ( RT) , in­fa­mous for spread­ing fake news in favour of Rus­sian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

Scot­tish Lib Dem Leader Wil­lie Ren­nie yes­ter­day said it was a “dis­grace” Sal­mond had agreed to take a pre­sent­ing job with a sta­tion de­scribed as a pro­pa­ganda tool to desta­bilise western democ­ra­cies.

Ren­nie spoke out at his party’s au­tumn con­fer­ence in Dun­fermline.

He told del­e­gates: “Good af­ter­noon con­fer­ence. Or do­bryj dyen to Mr Sal­mond. Ac­tu­ally, con­fer­ence, I don’t want to joke about it.

“RT are un­der­min­ing western democ­racy. They un­der­mined the cam­paign of pres­i­dent Macron. At­tacked chan­cel­lor Merkel.

“We first heard about them when we found out they had un­der­mined Hil­lary Clin­ton.

“When we met here a year ago, peo­ple were grief-stricken that the first woman to run for pres­i­dent was de­feated in the way that she was.

“So it is a dis­grace that Alex Sal­mond has de­cided to sup­ple­ment his first min­is­ter’s pen­sion by le­git­imis­ing a Rus­sian or­gan­i­sa­tion whose mis­sion is to un­der­mine western democ­racy. It’s a dis­grace.

“Hil­lary Clin­ton car­ried the hopes of so many women across the world. And the ap­palling re­ports of ha­rass­ment and abuse of women in this coun­try in the last few days demon­strate why we needed a woman to win.”

Sal­mond – who lost his West­min­ster seat in June – was un­veilved as RT’s new host at a lav­ish launch in Lon­don on Thurs­day.

His de­ci­sion to work for the Krem­lin mouth­piece was quickly crit­i­cised by his suc­ces­sor Ni­cola Stur­geon, who said she had not been asked about the ar­range­ment and would have ad­vised against it if she had been. Alyn Smith, an SNP mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, was quoted say­ing: “What the f*** is he do­ing?” Last month, Twit­ter banned RT ads af­ter US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies un­cov­ered ev­i­dence the chan­nel was part of a Rus­sian plot to un­der­mine he pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in 2016. The Alex Sal­mond Show will make its de­but on Thurs­day. It is made by his firm Slainte Me­dia and pro­duced by his close friend Tas­mina Ahmed-Sheikh, who also lost her seat in June.

Sal­mond has in­sisted he will have ed­i­to­rial con­trol.

He said: “Sputnik News cor­re­spon­dent Mark Hirst tweeted last night, ‘ Weirdly, Wil­lie, you seemed very ea­ger to give me your mo­bile num­ber last year for in­ter­view on Sputnik. In the end, we in­ter­viewed Lib Dems David Steel, Michael Moore and Alis­tair Carmichael.’

“So it seems that while Wil­lie Ren­nie is com­plain­ing about me pro­duc­ing my own pro­gramme, over which I have to­tal ed­i­to­rial con­trol, he has been can­vass­ing to get on other Rus­sian pro­grammes, which are un­der their ed­i­to­rial con­trol.

“I think Mr Ren­nie is go­ing to drown in his own hypocrisy.”

AT­TACK Wil­lie Ren­nie slams show

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