Scottish Secretary David Mundell has accused Alex Salmond of only being concerned with himself as he called for the former first minister to quit Russian TV and criticised his fundraising campaign to contest sexual misconduct allegations.
Mr Mundell called on Mr Salmond to cease his involvement with Russian TV station RT, which the SNP’s Westminster leader has said is a “vehicle of the Russian state”.
He also said crowdfunding appeals, such as that Mr Salmond launched to pay for legal action regarding allegations against him, are “not helpful”.
Mr Mundell said: “I think Alex Salmond’s approach to Russian television has been appalling from the start.
“It was ill-advised, it certainly didn’t put the interests of Scotland or the United Kingdom to the fore.
“It’s become increasingly clear that Mr Salmond has one guiding principle in his actions, and that’s self.
“I think that he would do Scotland, himself and the whole country a great service if he were to end his programme on Russian TV.”
He branded Mr Salmond’s crowdfunding campaign “extraordinary”.
The online appeal was launched as Mr Salmond quit the SNP and it raised more than double its £50,000 target within hours from donors including nationalist politicians.
But the move drew criticism from women’s rights charities which said it could deter others from coming forward.
Mr Salmond is challenging through legal action the way the Scottish Government has handled the allegations against him, but the administration has pledged to “vigorously defend” its position in court.
Mr Mundell said: “[The crowdfunding appeal] is something that every member of the public that I’ve spoken to about has actually found extraordinary, that he would take that decision to seek funding from others for a matter that relates primarily to himself.
“We want people to come forward to challenge figures in authority, figures of power and wealth, and it’s not helpful for them to create a backdrop where people think that those people can bring huge resources to bear to make their case whilst an ordinary person is not able to do to the same.”
A source close to Mr Salmond said: “Alex is not interested in Mundell’s comments on a show he has clearly never watched.
“It has featured interviews with parliamentarians of all political parties including his own and indeed today’s show included a statement from the UK Government Department for Transport on HS2.
“On the petition for judicial review, we made it clear last weekend that Alex does not intend any further comment but is content to allow the court to do its job.”