A DEFIANT Alex Salmond has vowed he will not be “bullied off air” by his critics over his controversial TV programme on the Russian state-backed broadcaster Russia Today (RT).
Calls have mounted for the former First Minister and SNP leader to abandon the show following the Salisbury nerve agent attack, which the UK Government says the Kremlin is responsible for.
The growing pressure on the RT programme follows confirmation Mr Salmond’s weekly radio slot on LBC had come to the end of its run and was not being renewed.
“The idea that I would be bullied off air, whether it be on LBC or The Alex Salmond Show, by that crowd is risible,” Mr Salmond told a national newspaper.
“The difference is that I say what I believe to be true on air.”
The former SNP chief said his critics among the Scottish Conservatives “get told what to think by their Westminster bosses”. He added: “I signed up to a six-month contract with LBC last September, which completed at the end of March.
“I have had a great time with the listeners at LBC, who are both opinionated and tremendous fun, and I really enjoyed the phone-in experience.
“I look forward to launching another project with the station which is currently under discussion.”
A spokesman for LBC said: “Alex Salmond has completed his contract as presenter of the Sunday afternoon show on LBC.
“We’re now discussing other projects with him.”
Labour’s Jackie Baillie MSP suggested First Minister Nicola Sturgeon would be “desperate for Alex Salmond to retire with some shred of dignity”.
Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “He must take this opportunity to break with the Russian propaganda outfit.”
Mr Salmond’s defiant stance comes as Britain’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson added to diplomatic tensions between Russia and the UK over the March 4 attack in which former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned.
Mr Skripal remains in a critical, but stable condition in hospital.
Mr Williamson yesterday said the world had “entered a new era of warfare” and labelled Russian president Vladimir Putin’s behaviour “malign”.
He called the incident a “cold-blooded chemical attack” and said the Kremlin’s response had been to “unleash a tidal wave of smears, lies and mockery”.
The politician said the world was becoming a “darker, more dangerous place” citing conflicts in Syria and Yemen and tensions with North Korea adding: “Then there is President Putin.
“He is using more hybrid capabilities to subvert, undermine, and influence countries.”