Cable going on Salmond show an error of judgment, Lib Dem leader says

The former Lib Dem leader said the interview had ‘nothing to do with the security situation and Ukraine’.

Craig Paton
Friday 25 February 2022 15:06
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey spoke to journalists during a visit to Scotland on Friday (PA)
Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey spoke to journalists during a visit to Scotland on Friday (PA)

Former Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable appearing on Alex Salmond’s show on Kremlin-backed RT was an “error of judgment”, Sir Ed Davey has said.

Sir Vince appeared on the show on the same day as Russia invaded Ukraine to promote his book, but has since asked that the network pull the interview – which was taped on Wednesday.

On Thursday – the same day as the former Lib Dem leader appeared on the show – Mr Salmond announced it would be suspended until “peace” can be secured in eastern Europe.

In response to the criticism, Sir Vince condemned the invasion and said the interview had “nothing to do with the security situation and Ukraine”.

The former Lib Dem leader appeared on Alex Salmond’s show (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Speaking to journalists during a visit to Scotland, Sir Ed said: “Let’s be clear – I don’t want to beat around the bush – I think it was an error of judgment for going on that.

“Because the interview was before the invasion, Vince has asked for the interview to be retracted.”

Sir Ed sought to draw a comparison between his predecessor and Mr Salmond, saying: “You have Alex Salmond, who has been a mouthpiece, I think, for Putin by appearing on Russia Today with his own show.

“And, still, is anti-Nato. The errors of judgment of Alex Salmond are massive, legion and long-standing.”

Sir Ed said he had not had any discussions with his predecessor since the controversy, which led to the party branding the decision “wrong” and Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton also tweeting his displeasure.

“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,” Mr Cole-Hamilton said.

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

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

Mr Salmond has come under sustained criticism since tensions escalated between Russia and Ukraine, with his successor and former deputy Nicola Sturgeon saying it was “unthinkable” he was still broadcasting on the network.

In a statement on Thursday, Mr Salmond announced the suspension of the show – which is produced independently and broadcast on RT – as he hit out at his critics and said co-presenter and former SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh had faced abuse in recent days.

“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,” he said.

“There is no productive point in having the future of a television show dominate Prime Minister’s Questions as it did yesterday, when politicians should be rising to the occasion of the great issues of peace in Europe.”

Mr Salmond added: “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.

“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.”

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