Alex Salmond’s reaction to being paid more than any other politician for appearing in the latest series of the satirical quiz show Have I Got News For You may have owed something to the “Because I’m Worth It” slogan of the L’Oréal cosmetic brand.
A payment of £1,800 Mr Salmond listed in his register of MPs interests as his fee for appearing on the show last month was £300 higher than that recorded by the five other senior UK politicians who featured in the same series.
“They must be operating a payment by results scheme”, Mr Salmond said when explaining why he had received a bigger sum than the other political guests on the flagship BBC panel show.
Perhaps Mr Salmond felt the additional £300 was in recognition of a “Scottish weighting” fee over and above the recorded sums of £1,500 handed to Labour’s London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan, shadow minister Diane Abbott, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg.
But Mr Salmond’s fee of £1,800 may have left Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson feeling shortchanged after she was paid £1,500, despite receiving praise for her performance in an episode of the show hosted by the actor Michael Sheen.
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said: “Only in Alex Salmond’s mind was he head and shoulders above the rest.”
Programme maker Hat Trick Productions said the reason Mr Salmond’s appearance money stood at £1,800 was because it had to make an additional payment of £300 in VAT as he was paid via a company that he uses for earnings outside politics.
A spokeswoman for Hat Trick said the £300 went to the tax authorities and did not directly go to Mr Salmond.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie criticised Mr Salmond’s claims about his performance in the episode, which was hosted by the actor and presenter Alexander Armstrong.
Mr Rennie said: “This payment is more a reflection of the size of his ego then the quality of his performance.”