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BBC lock horns with SNP over Salmond Rugby ban

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By John Glenday | Reporter

February 9, 2012 | 2 min read

Relationships between the BBC and the SNP have become stretched amidst a deepening row over the corporations ruling that Alex Salmond cannot appear on air as a rugby pundit.

The broadcaster claims it had been approached by Salmond to appear on their TV coverage of last Saturday’s Scotland/England face off at Murrayfield, as well as two accompanying radio shows.

However the SNP refute this, claiming that they had been approached by the editor of BBC TV Sport inviting the First Minister onto the programmes – furnishing email evidence which they say supports this claim.

Salmond asserts that the BBC’s decision not to call upon his services amounted to a “political ban”, denouncing the organisation as a “tin pot dictatorship” and dismissing its chief political adviser as a “political gauleiter”.

The BBC remains adamant however that the initial approach had come directly from the First Minister’s office and had turned down the TV request following similar rejections for appearances on Radio Scotland and BBC Five Live, judging that this would not be an “appropriate setting” for the politician.

Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, said: "So, now it appears that the BBC is a 'tinpot dictatorship' populated by 'gauleiters' simply for saying no to the First Minister as he shamelessly hawks himself from programme to programme demanding unfettered access to the nation's airwaves."

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