Alex Salmond reveals portrait ‘raised money for charity’

Gerard M Burns, left with Alex Salmond MP and the portrait. Picture: Scottish Government / Flickr
Gerard M Burns, left with Alex Salmond MP and the portrait. Picture: Scottish Government / Flickr
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ALEX Salmond missed a Westminster debate on Syria so he could help unveil a portrait of himself - but the Gordon MP revealed the painting had helped raise over £50,000 for charity.

Despite being the SNP’s Foreign Affairs spokesman, Mr Salmond was absent from Westminster and instead attended First Minister’s Questions (FMQs) at Holyrood.

Mr Salmond is still the MSP for Aberdeenshire East, despite securing the Westminster seat for Gordon in May’s General Election.

And Mr Salmond tweeted last night: “Many thanks to the opposition today for raising the profile of my portrait, which raised £51,500 for CLIC Sargent. A great cause.”

Mr Salmond also revealed that he had hosted a War Memorials Trust visit to the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

The former First Minister was slammed by opponents after he made a public appearance at Edinburgh’s National Portrait Gallery to attend the unveiling of a portrait of himself painted by Scots artist Gerard M Burns.

Mr Salmond was accompanied by yet another version of himself in the form of Ryan McGuigan, the 13-year-old schoolboy whose impersonations of the former SNP leader have become an internet hit.

Mr Salmond’s choice of event was criticised by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who said: “There is nothing more serious than the potential deployment of our service personnel abroad.

“The fact the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman would apparently prefer to unveil a portrait of himself in Edinburgh, than take his seat in the Commons during the Prime Minister’s statement on UK actions in Syria speaks volumes.”

She added: “Alex Salmond has form in unveiling vanity projects to himself but he needs to remember he’s paid - twice over - to be a parliamentarian, not an art critic.”

Mr Salmond said that, as a Privy Councillor, he had attended a briefing on Wednesday night and was therefore aware of David Cameron’s statement prior to the debate.

Mr Salmond told BuzzFeed: “I got a briefing last night - MI5 was there, MI6 was there, nothing in the statement was a surprise to me.

“When it comes to the debate and the vote, I’ll be there.”