Salmond should ‘repent’ for associating with Putin propaganda – Gove

The UK Government minister said the former Scottish first minister should make clear he rejects Russia’s invasion into Ukraine.

Tom Eden
Thursday 24 February 2022 16:02
Michael Gove said Alex Salmond had made a ‘fundamental miscalculation’ by broadcasting on RT (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Michael Gove said Alex Salmond had made a ‘fundamental miscalculation’ by broadcasting on RT (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Alex Salmond should “repent” for broadcasting on Russian state TV channel Russia Today (RT), Michael Gove has said.

Mr Gove, the UK Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said the former first minister of Scotland had made a “fundamental miscalculation” to associate with Vladimir Putin’s propaganda.

The former SNP leader, who now leads the Alba Party, has attracted widespread condemnation for continuing to host a talk show on the state broadcaster known to spread Kremlin disinformation after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Now is an opportunity to make clear that they repudiate what Vladimir Putin, his propaganda arm, and his supporters are doing

Michael Gove

Speaking to reporters after an appearance at a Holyrood committee, Mr Gove said: “With respect to Mr Salmond, I hope he repents of his decision to associate himself with Putin’s propaganda arm.

“Alex Salmond made a distinguished contribution during much of his time as first minister and made a distinguished contribution to Parliament.

“But I hope he will reflect on the fact that he and others in the Alba Party and the Yes movement have made a fundamental miscalculation in their attitude towards Vladimir Putin’s regime and now is an opportunity to make clear that they repudiate what Vladimir Putin, his propaganda arm, and his supporters are doing.”

Responding to a question about whether the channel should be allowed to air in the UK, Mr Gove added: “The decision about the future of RT is one for Ofcom, as the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have made clear.

“The future of a channel like RT’s capacity to broadcast depends on the decision of the regulator in a democracy like ours.”

Alex Salmond during the launch of his RT chat show (Chris Radburn/PA)

On Wednesday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “unthinkable” that her predecessor continues to appear on RT and she backed calls for the broadcaster’s licence to be revoked.

She said: “It’s a matter for Ofcom, but I do think there is now a very serious question about whether RT should continue to have a licence to broadcast here in Scotland and I would certainly encourage Ofcom to look at that very, very seriously and closely indeed.”

When asked about Mr Salmond’s show being broadcast on the network, Ms Sturgeon said: “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.”

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