Embattled Catalan professor signs up for Salmond’s show

Clara Ponsati gestures to the media as she stands alongside her lawyer Aamer Anwar outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after being released on bail.
Clara Ponsati gestures to the media as she stands alongside her lawyer Aamer Anwar outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after being released on bail.
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Former Catalan minister Clara Ponsati has been lined up to appear on Alex Salmond’s live chat show.

The former First Minister said the St Andrews University academic was due to appear with him on stage in Dundee and Edinburgh within weeks.

Professor Ponsati is fighting charges of “violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds” over her role in Catalonia’s independence referendum last year.

She was released on bail in Edinburgh last month hours after handing herself in to a police station after being made the subject of a European arrest warrant.Dozens of Spanish academics have protested to St Andrews University after its principal, Sally Mapstone, said Ponsati was being “targeted for standing up for her political beliefs”.

Speaking at the Tartan Day celebrations in New York, Salmond said: “My live show is still touring. The next dates are in Dundee and Edinburgh at the end of this month. We’re inviting a certain Catalonian minister, as was, now a professor at St Andrews University, who will be a very special and surprise guest.

“I am sure that folk in Dundee and Edinburgh will want to listen to what she has to say.”

Salmond also revealed plans to return to the stage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where his chat show was launched last summer. He said he could not yet announce full details of the new Fringe show as he had “not written it yet”.

He added: “It will be rather different from last year, which was a cabaret show, a variety show, really.”

Salmond also revealed that he had been filming sequences for his Russia Today programme on the stage of the iconic Carnegie Hall in New York.

He said: “If you think about which Scot had the most influence in the United States, of so many, it was probably Andrew Carnegie. At Carnegie Hall, I serenaded one of the film crew, an Irish lady. I sang When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. I can claim to have sung there. It’s a lifetime’s ambition achieved.”