Sal­mond’s Rus­sian-backed chat show is not for Stur­geon

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Aus­lan Cramb and Si­mon John­son

NI­COLA STUR­GEON has crit­i­cised Alex Sal­mond’s de­ci­sion to host a chat show on a Krem­lin-funded TV chan­nel say­ing she would not have cho­sen to do so.

Ms Stur­geon said she had not been asked about the deal, and if she had been she would have ad­vised against his ap­pear­ance on the RT chan­nel, for­merly known as Rus­sia To­day.

Crit­ics said Mr Sal­mond’s move was “em­bar­rass­ing and shame­ful” and it beg­gared be­lief that the man who led Scot­land for seven years should be re­duced to “Putin’s pup­pet”.

The Alex Sal­mond Show will air on a Thurs­day, start­ing next week, and is billed as a mix­ture of cur­rent af­fairs and “friendly ex­plo­rations” of his guests’ per­son­al­i­ties. Ms Stur­geon said she was sure the show would make in­ter­est­ing view­ing but added: “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.”

In 2014, Sal­mond pro­voked con­tro­versy by say­ing he ad­mired as­pects of Mr Putin’s lead­er­ship for the way he had re­stored Rus­sia’s na­tional pride.

The show will be pro­duced by Mr Sal­mond’s own Slainte Me­dia com­pany, which he set up with Tas­mina Ahmed­sheikh, the for­mer SNP MP.

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