THE SNP has claimed the Scottish Conservatives have been left “red-faced” after they criticised Nationalist politicians for appearing on pro-Kremlin TV and radio channels only for a former Tory minister to have appeared on the same network too.
The Tories attacked the SNP after its research showed Nationalist politicians had made nearly 50 appearances on RT and Sputnik, regarded as vehicles for propaganda favouring the Russian Government. RT and Sputnik insist they are independent of their Kremlin funders.
Alex Salmond, the former First Minister, was said to have accounted for more than a third of appearances by SNP figures.
Loading article content
Murdo Fraser, the Conservative MSP, condemned SNP politicians for speaking to RT and Sputnik, saying: “These outfits are amateurish, run by people with zero journalistic training or credibility, and it's embarrassing that the SNP is so eager to pander to them.”
He added: "It's utterly hypocritical and will no doubt cause huge embarrassment to more reasonable elements of the party. As long as the SNP are putting up people for these dangerous and discredited outfits, it has a cheek to complain of any sort of media bias."
But the SNP hit back, accusing the Tories of hypocrisy as they pointed out how Sir Gerald Howarth, the former Conservative defence minister, had given an interview to RT in the run-up to the visit to Moscow by Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary.
A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: "Looks like the Tories have been caught red-handed. Their idea of a boycott is actually a Tory Party monopoly of the airwaves. The reality is that they have made a ham-fisted attempt at McCarthyism, leaving them in a position of total hypocrisy.”
He added: "The fact that they used Murdo Fraser, an MSP whose idea of international policy was to brand Nelson Mandela a terrorist, indicates the depth to which they can sink.”
In response, the Scottish Conservatives said: "Maybe if our former leaders were as regular a fixture on these outlets as Alex Salmond we'd have a case to answer. The SNP has notched a half-century of appearances on these Kremlin platforms - and that is a disgrace."
Sir Gerald, the MP for Aldershot, said that he had only ever been on RT once and did so to speak about Ukraine, given he is the chairman of the all-party Westminster Group on Ukraine, and to challenge Russia’s position in a robust manner.