Alex Salmond claims controversial joke was ‘harmless innuendo’

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Alex Salmond has hit back over criticism over a controversial joke he made during his Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, insisting it was “harmless innuendo.”

READ MORE - Scott Macnab: Why Salmond’s joke isn’t funny any more

Former First Minister Alex Salmond hit back at criticism of a joke at his Fringe show, labelling it "harmless innuendo". Picture: Lesley Martin/PA Wire

Former First Minister Alex Salmond hit back at criticism of a joke at his Fringe show, labelling it "harmless innuendo". Picture: Lesley Martin/PA Wire

He also praised the late comic Benny Hill after Nicola Sturgeon suggested his gag was a throwback to the controversial TV star’s era.

Mr Salmond was quizzed about the controversy during an appearance on STV2’s The Late Show. The First Minister was forced to defend her predecessor, insisting he was not sexist, after he was accused of “degrading politicians” during his Assembly Rooms show.

But she added: “Occasionally Alex is not as funny as he thinks he is, and perhaps this is an example of a joke which belongs more in the Benny Hill era than in the modern era.”

Asked about the First Minister’s response to “joke-gate” by presenter Ewen Cameron, Mr Salmond said: “I have to reply to Nicola Sturgeon? I wouldn’t get a word in edgeways.

“Actually, Benny Hill was quite talented. He made a living for 50 years on telly, so he didn’t do too badly.

“The thing about the joke....nothing in the show is scripted, it was taken out of context, it was a piece of harmless innuendo.”

Mr Salmond, who dropped the gag in the second edition of his show, said: “I promised you today we’d either have Theresa May, or Nicola Sturgeon, or Ruth Davidson, or Melania Trump, but I couldn’t make any of these wonderful women come.”

Following a drum roll from the onstage band, Mr Salmond added: “To the show.”