Sir Vince Cable under fire after RT interview shown on day of Russian invasion

A Lib Dem spokesperson said the former leader was ‘wrong’ to appear as a guest on a show hosted by Alex Salmond.

24 February 2022

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable has come under fire after an interview he did with the Kremlin-backed station RT was broadcast on the day Russian invaded Ukraine.

A party spokesperson said Sir Vince was “wrong” to appear as a guest on the show hosted by former Scottish first minister and now Alba Party leader Alex Salmond, which was posted to the RT website on Thursday.

Conservative MP Bim Afolami described the appearance as “outrageous” and he urged current Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey to condemn it.

Sir Vince said he has asked RT “not to broadcast or make use of the interview”, emphasising the conversation had “nothing to do with the security situation and Ukraine”.

It comes after Ofcom was told by the Culture Secretary to review the operation of RT – previously known as Russia Today – which she said was “demonstrably part of Russia’s global disinformation campaign”.

RT responded by accusing the Government of a “hypocritical” stance after ministers criticised China’s decision to ban the BBC World Service last year.

On Sir Vince’s appearance on the Kremlin-backed station, a Lib Dem spokesperson said: “Vince has many views which the party has always valued, but appearing on RT is wrong.

“As a leader his strong criticism of the Salisbury incident and Russian oligarchs in the UK are on the record.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton tweeted: “Vince Cable is a private citizen and no longer a Lib Dem parliamentarian, but his appearance on Salmond’s RT show this morning was entirely wrong.

“So too is Salmond’s continued association with this agent of a hostile power.

“No elected Scottish Liberal Democrat will appear on RT.”

In response to the criticism, Sir Vince said: “My interview was about the paperback version of my book Money And Power, and my earlier novel Open Arms, and had nothing to do with the security situation and Ukraine.

“I totally condemn the Russian invasion… I was always critical of the failure of the British Government to take tougher action against Russian financial interests in the UK and fully support Ed Davey’s comments on sanctions.

“At the time that I agreed to the interview there was every hope in Europe that today’s invasion could be avoided.

“But for the avoidance of doubt I have asked RT not to broadcast or make use of the interview.”

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