BEN Wallace has told of Alex Salmond’s kindness to him when the Defence Secretary was a young MSP.

He said he thought the former SNP First Minister had no need to present a programme on Russia Today as he sought to carve out a new career after losing his Westminster seat.

Wallace told of Salmond buying him a cup of tea and being “kind and considerate” after both were elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, with Salmond going on to serve as opposition leader.

Salmond also won the Westminster seat of Gordon for the SNP in May 2015 but lost it in June 2017 and that November launched the Alex Salmond Show on Russia Today (RT). Speaking to the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists’ Association in London, Wallace was asked what he thought about Salmond working for the channel. Wallace said: “The public knows what Russia Today does and what it is and it’s really for Alex to answer why he did it.”

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Asked if he had had respect for Salmond and whether that had changed, he said: “When I was in the Scottish Parliament, Alex Salmond was a consummate politician and he was a big beast of Scottish politics. Just like Donald Dewar, he was deeply respected.

“He was always very kind and considerate to me as a new boy and remember being a Tory in 1998 [sic] in Scotland, not many people bought you a cup of tea. I suppose I put it this way – I don’t think Alex needed to do that, to be honest, to go on Russia Today. No-one’s credibility is served by going on Russia Today.”

Asked if Salmond choosing to do so was sad, Wallace said: “People make their own choices in life.”

Salmond responded: “I am delighted that Ben recalls the kind and avuncular advice I gave him when he was a young MSP.

“Perhaps he will now as Defence Secretary accept some more. He should watch the interview on my show this week with Professor Akbar Ahmed of the American University in Washington about rapprochement between the west and the Islamic world.

“It might, as Defence Secretary, prevent some of the grievous mistakes of the past bring repeated.”

Nicola Sturgeon criticised Salmond for deciding to host his show on RT, which is funded by the Kremlin. She said she would have advised Salmond against appearing on the channel had he consulted her.