Alex Salmond makes call for peace in Ukraine as he suspends show on RT network

The former first minister had been heavily criticised over his political show on the network which is backed by the Kremlin.

24 February 2022

Former first minister Alex Salmond has suspended his show on Kremlin-backed network RT until “peace” can be secured in eastern Europe.

Mr Salmond has come under fire for the show, which was produced independently and broadcast on RT, in the lead up to and following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

The Culture Secretary ordered regulator Ofcom to review the licence of the broadcaster earlier this week, saying it was “demonstrably part of Russia’s global disinformation campaign”.

In a statement on Thursday evening, Mr Salmond said: “Slainte Media have decided to suspend the Alex Salmond Show broadcast on RT until further notice.

Alex Salmond appearing in front of a backdrop for his show
Former first minister Alex Salmond launched the show in 2017 (Chris Radburn/PA)

“We now have the worst of all fears – a hot war in Europe.

“The efforts of every single person should be to re-establish the peace. That certainly is our focus, and therefore Slainte Media have decided to suspend the Alex Salmond Show until that can be secured.”

The former first minister was criticised by a number of opposition politicians, including during exchanges at Prime Minister’s Questions, and by Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, and his successor and former deputy, Nicola Sturgeon.

Speaking on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon said it was “unthinkable” he was still broadcasting the show on RT.

“I’m appalled at Alex Salmond’s continued involvement with RT, I don’t think it’s any secret now that I don’t think he should ever have had a television show on RT, but it is even more unthinkable now that that should continue,” she added.

Mr Salmond, the leader of the Alba Party, claimed he had never received any “editorial interference” from the network, while taking a swipe at his critics, adding that former MP and co-presenter, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, had suffered abuse as a result of the attention.

“The blatant attacks on freedom of speech from establishment political parties are not just entirely hypocritical, but have whipped up a crescendo of personal abuse and harassment of my co-presenter, Ms Ahmed-Sheikh, to the extent that she is now quite legitimately concerned about the safety of her family,” he said.

“All wars come to an end. Let us pray that this one will not escalate even further. Now every single person’s efforts should turn to supporting attempts to regain the peace.”

On Thursday, Mr Salmond’s show was posted on the RT website.

Former Lib Dem leader, Sir Vince Cable, drew criticism for appearing on this week’s show to promote his book, in an interview that was recorded on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the party said it was “wrong” for Sir Vince to appear, with the former leader saying he condemned the invasion, adding he had asked RT not to make use of the interview.

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