ALEX Salmond is facing a boycott of his new chat show on a pro-Kremlin TV channel after House of Commons Speaker John Bercow withdrew as an early guest.

Mr Bercow, who took part in Mr Salmond’s recent Edinburgh Fringe show, had initially agreed to be on the TV version but pulled out after learning it would be on RT.

The channel is forced to register in the US as an arm of the Russian Government, and is widely seen as a mouthpiece of president Vladimir Putin.

It is due to broadcast the first half-hour episode of the Alex Salmond Show tomorrow.

The respected PoliticsHome website is reporting today that David Cameron had also turned down an invitation to be on the show.

It said the former Prime Minister had been asked by Mr Salmond in a phone call last week.

A senior Conservative source said Mr Cameron "seemed surprised" when he was asked to be a guest.

"It shows Salmond's total lack of self awareness," said the source.

"There's no way the former PM would do a Russia Today chat show with the nationalist leader, and Dave quite rightly told Alex to get stuffed. Alex is going after a lot of Tories and getting a lot of knock backs."

The SNP Government yesterday confirmed Nicola Sturgeon and all her ministers would also snub the show, while Downing Street urged Mr Salmond to “reconsider”.

Mr Salmond last night defended his new venture, which he is making with former SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, in an interview on Channel 4 News.

He denied it would be “Russian propaganda” and said RT was licensed to broadcast in the UK. He also revealed the Russians had paid the highest price for the idea.

He said: “I offered the show to a range of broadcasting companies and RT UK put in the best offer. It’s edited, produced by me. Anything in that programme will be mine and mine alone.”

Asked if there was Russian meddling in foreign media, he replied: “I have no information.”

Mr Bercow's office said: “The Speaker had previously agreed to take part in the show, but pulled out last week when it became clear it was to be broadcast by RT.”

Mr Salmond also claimed he was told by a broadcaster who wanted to air his show that “I would be too hot a property for the British television authorities”.

A Number 10 source said: “As members of his own party have urged, Mr Salmond might do well to reconsider his curious decision to host a programme on Russia Today. This association with a country that seeks to undermine the international order will worry members of the public."

Tory MP Colin Clark, who ousted Mr Salmond from his Gordon seat in June, said: “If Nicola Sturgeon thinks it’s inappropriate for SNP ministers to appear on a pro-Kremlin TV channel, she needs to explain why she thinks it’s fine for her former boss to have his own show on RT. She needs to condemn Alex Salmond’s actions in the strongest possible terms, and rule out any of her MPs or MSPs joining him on this Russian job creation scheme.”