Alex Salmond accused over male-only Burns Club

ALEX Salmond has had to clarify his views on single-sex golf clubs after it emerged he is an honorary member of a male-only society celebrating Robert Burns.

Alex Salmond is not going to the Open. Picture: PA

The First Minister, who has stayed away from the Open Championship at Muirfield on the grounds of sexism, insisted he did not have a problem with men-only clubs which have an equivalent women’s group.

The clarification came after opposition politicians attacked him for his membership of the Dumfries Howff Burns Club which is closed to women, accusing him of “hypocrisy in the extreme”.

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“[The] key point he has repeatedly made regarding the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield is that it does not allow membership for women on an equal basis to that of men,” said a spokesman for the First Minister.

“If Muirfield were to establish a similar female equivalent to the Honourable Company, such as the St Rules’ and St Regulas Ladies clubs at St Andrews, this would represent a form of equality and an important step in the right direction.”

He added: “Indeed, this is entirely similar to the Dumfries Howff Burns Club whereby they are regularly supported at events by the equivalent Dumfries Ladies’ Burns Club. The First Minister has yet to speak at the Dumfries Ladies Burns Club but would, of course, be delighted to do so if invited.”

Scottish Tory MSP Alex Johnstone claimed Mr Salmond had been caught “red handed” saying one thing in public “but doing the absolute opposite in private”.