A FORMER Scottish cabinet secretary has blamed the British Government for Alex Salmond’s decision to join a pro-Kremlin TV channel.

Kenneth MacAskill said the UK should have found the former First Minister a job on the “international stage”, rather than let him waste his talents on a “Russian propaganda” outlet.

The former Justice Secretary said there were “more than enough international agencies with whom the UK has sufficient leverage to have obtained a senior position”.

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Not lining up a new job for Mr Salmond was “another abuse of the respect agenda”, he said, whereas if a role had been found it would be seen as the UK “building devolution”.

Kenny MacAskill: Why I condemn this fake outrage over Alex Salmond

Nicola Sturgeon last week slapped down her predecessor for agreeing to host a weekly show on RT, which is registered in the US as an arm of the Russian state.

The First Minister said that she would have advised Mr Salmond against the move.

Mr Salmond and co-presenter Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, another former SNP MP, were widely condemned for getting into bed with a mouthpiece of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Writing in the Herald, Mr MacAskill said he still held Mr Salmond in “huge regard” and wished him well with the new venture, which he was sure he would carry off “with aplomb”.

However he was also “saddened” by the RT deal because, as with Mr Salmond’s recent Fringe show, he felt “there must be more that he can be doing with his talents”.

He said: “For that I don’t condemn him but blame the British Government. Throughout the years leading former politicians have been found roles on the international stage.

“They don’t always come from the governing party wither. Neil Kinnock became an EU Commissioner, Helen Liddell was made High Commissioner to Australia, and Paddy Ashdown provided with a leadership role in the Balkans.”

Kenny MacAskill: Why I condemn this fake outrage over Alex Salmond

He went on: “Given events in the world I find it hard to believe that there wouldn’t be a willing agency eager to have him [Mr Salmond] with his skills and experience.

“That an appointment appears there not to have been sought speaks to yet another abuse of the respect agenda.

“It’s not just serving First Ministers who are to be excluded, but past ones who are to be snubbed. When in fact such an appointment would have been good for him and shown the UK not only respecting but building devolution.”

Mr MacAskill said RT produced “Russian propaganda”, and was “one of the most blatant” channels at spinning, but said Al Jazeera and the BBC did so to some degree as well.

He said: “I don’t watch RT, not because it’s Russian propaganda, but because it’s not very good. Mr Salmond, though, may help change that.”

Kenny MacAskill: Why I condemn this fake outrage over Alex Salmond

Tory MP Colin Clark, who ousted Mr Salmond from Gordon in June's election, said: "Alex Salmond decides to become Vladimir Putin’s TV puppet, and Kenny MacAskill’s response is – it’s all Westminster’s fault. We have hit Peak Nat.

“It’s the same old SNP line – refuse to admit a mistake and blame the UK Government for everything.

“As Theresa May made clear last night – the Russian Government is trying to undermine free societies by planting fake stories through its propaganda network.

“Rather than rushing to Mr Salmond’s defence, SNP figures from Nicola Sturgeon down should have the courage to condemn his actions and oppose the lies being spread by Mr Putin’s oppressive regime.”

A Labour source added: “Once again, we see the SNP’s old boys club working overtime to protect its most lauded member.

“Alex Salmond’s experience of international relations barely goes beyond playing golf on various junkets abroad – and the notion he should have been given a prominent role in an international body is simply laughable.

“It takes a special type of arrogance to think the British Government should help Alex Salmond get a job when he has spent his entire career trying to break the UK apart.”

Mr Kinnock, a former Labour leader, went to the EU under the Tories in 1995, but Ms Liddell, a former Labour Scottish Secretary, went to Australia under Labour in 2005.

Lord Ashdown, former leader of the LibDems, was made High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina under Labour in 2002.