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Scot politician Salmond compares BBC boss with Nazi official

Edinburgh, Mon, 06 Feb 2012 ANI

Edinburgh, Feb.6 (ANI): Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond is facing calls to apologise after embarrassingly comparing a BBC chief to a Nazi bureaucrat


Salmond described Ric Bailey, the BBC's chief political adviser in London, as behaving like a "Gauleiter" by refusing to let him appear on a pundit show ahead of Saturday's Calcutta Cup rugby match between England and Scotland.


Bailey feared the appearance on a non-political programme would breach the corporation's guidelines on neutrality, but Salmond said the official was "in thrall to Downing Street" and the BBC had acted like a "tin pot dictatorship".


According to The Telegraph, opposition party leaders accused Scotland's First Minister of indulging in "bully-boy tactics" that demeaned his post and urged him to retract the inappropriate "slur on the integrity of the BBC".


Willie Rennie, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, said: "The corporation deserves credit for standing up to a First Minister who all too often throws his weight around expecting all to accede to his every demand. The First Minister is more like a tin pot dictator than the BBC will ever be."


Ruth Davidson, his Tory counterpart, said: "This is just more bully-boy tactics from Alex Salmond and an embarrassing way for Scotland 's First Minister to behave."


Patricia Ferguson, Scottish Labour external affairs spokesman, said the Gauleiter accusation was an "ugly smear" and Mr Salmond should withdraw it."


The term refers to a Nazi Party regional branch leader.


The row broke out after the First Minister was provisionally booked by Carl Hicks, editor of BBC TV Sport, to appear with on a live show outside Edinburgh's Murrayfield stadium ahead of the Six Nations match.


The other pundits were Andy Nicol, the former Scotland captain, and England's Jeremy Guscott.


Leaked emails shows Salmond reassured the BBC he was "not looking in the slightest to make any kind of political or constitutional points". (ANI)


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