British politicians must stop being “useful idiots” by appearing on Kremlin-backed broadcasters, a former minister has said.
Labour’s Ben Bradshaw said it pained him to say some from the left in British and international politics were willing to appear on RT, formerly Russia Today.
Former SNP colleagues Kenny MacAskill and Angus MacNeil have both appeared as guests on the politics show hosted by former First Minister Alex Salmond running on RT.
Mr Salmond has been heavily criticised for choosing the Russian broadcaster to air his programme.
The broadcasting watchdog Ofcom is investigating Mr Salmond’s new programme on the Kremlin-backed RT network.
Speaking during a Commons debate on Russian interference in UK politics and society today, Mr Bradshaw said: “This is more one for our party leaders and our whips, but surely it’s time for British politicians to stop making useful idiots of themselves by appearing on and taking money from Kremlin propaganda outfits like Russia Today or Sputnik.
“A lot of the ties that are being made between the Putin regime and the far-right, alt-right are well-documented.
“But it pains me to say there are still some of these useful idiots on the left in British and international politics.
“My message to them is that Russia is a nasty, nationalistic, ultra-conservative, corrupt kleptocracy. It’s racist, it’s homophobic, and it makes no secret of wanting to undermine our democracy.”
Liberal Democrat former minister Tom Brake earlier said: “I don’t think any British parliamentarian should be taking money from RT.
“I go one step further and say that frankly I don’t think any British parliamentarian should be appearing on RT.
“I suppose the only exception to that rule might be if they have complete control, completely unedited, they can go on there and say what they want and it’s not going to get chopped, edited or cut by RT.
“Apart from that, I don’t think anyone here or in the House of Lords should ever appear on that channel.”