ALEX Salmond is to host his own radio show on LBC starting later this month, it has been revealed.
But the former First Minister, who remains an MSP and has become an MP since losing the 2014 vote, now hopes to reach a whole new audience by hosting a weekly phone-in on a London radio station.
From next Wednesday, Mr Salmond – who once described London as the “dark star of the economy, inexorably sucking in resources” – will host a 30-minute talkshow on LBC.
Billed as “honest, straight talking... with a bit of fun”, the show will follow the same format as that of former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who had a slot on Thursday mornings until he was voted out of office last year.
The station also hosts a monthly “Ask Boris” programme with the mayor of London Boris Johnson, as well as a fortnightly “Phone Farage” with Ukip leader Nigel Farage.
Listeners will be able to call, text, email and send Twitter messages to the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman at Westminster, who says he is “unburdened from office” and promises to “shoot straight from the hip”.
The last thing Nicola Sturgeon will want is for him to be given free rein for his increasingly bizarre pronouncementsTavish Scott
In a broadcast clip ahead of his first show, he reveals a weakness for dark chocolate Bounty bars in response to a comment that “if Alex Salmond was chocolate he would be dark and bitter”.
The timing of his slot between 4pm and 4:30pm, soon after Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, has led to suggestions that Mr Salmond could upstage the SNP’s Westminster leader Angus Robertson, as well as his successor as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott said: “The last thing Nicola Sturgeon will want is for him to be given free rein for his increasingly bizarre pronouncements while his SNP minders are trapped on the wrong side of the glass outside of the studio.”
Mr Salmond, who returned to Westminster in May after a five-year absence, also drew criticism for accepting additional paid work on top of his salaries as the Aberdeenshire East MSP and the MP for Gordon.
As an MP Mr Salmond takes home £67,000 a year. He donates both his MSP salary and pension to the Mary Salmond Trust charity, named in honour of his mother and founded in 2007. He is also believed to earn around £2,000 a week for newspaper columns.
Mr Salmond’s office would not reveal how much Mr Salmond is being paid to host the LBC show, but confirmed the cash would not go to charity.
Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “Despite complaining repeatedly about austerity Britain, it seems Mr Salmond now wants to supplement his income from two political salaries and a newspaper column with a talk-show.”
Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “If Salmond was chocolate he would eat himself. Here we see Alex Salmond, the man who hates Westminster so much he has gone there for the second time, now hosting a radio show in the centre of the city he disparages so much.”