'Foolish and disrespectful' Sunak should apologise for Scottish Nationalism remarks, John Swinney tells LBC

15 May 2024, 11:45 | Updated: 15 May 2024, 12:21

John Swinney said Rishi Sunak made "foolish" remarks about Scottish Nationalists
John Swinney said Rishi Sunak made "foolish" remarks about Scottish Nationalists. Picture: LBC

By Alan Zycinski

Scotland's First Minister's told LBC Rishi Sunak should apologise for and withdraw "foolish" remarks he made about Scottish Nationalists in a speech on Monday.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The Prime Minister included the term when discussing "the dangers that threaten our country", which also included Russia, Iran and North Korea.

He said: "The dangers that threaten our country are real. They are increasing in number. An axis of authoritarian states like Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China is working together to undermine us and our values..."

Before concluding the section with: "Extremists are also exploiting these global conflicts to divide us. People are abusing our liberal democratic values – the freedom of speech and right of protest - to intimidate, threaten and assault others, to sing antisemitic chants on our streets and our university campuses, and to weaponise the evils of anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim hatred in a divisive, ideological attempt to set Briton against Briton.

Read more: Bystander in her 30s injured in Stamford Hill drive-by shooting as London gangs 'take aim at each other'

Read more: Manhunt for prisoner ‘The Fly’ freed in ambush enters day two as tributes paid to victims and guards erupt into protest

"And from gender activists hijacking children’s sex education to cancel culture, vocal and aggressive fringe groups are trying to impose their views on the rest of us. They’re trying to make it morally unacceptable to believe something different and undermine people’s confidence and pride in our own history and identity. Scottish nationalists are even trying to tear our United Kingdom apart."

SNP leader John Swinney has today reacted to those remarks in an interview with LBC.

The First Minister told us the comments were foolish and should be withdrawn.

He said: "I think the Prime Minister's reference was poorly judged, very poorly judged. I don't think it helps to assist civilised reasonable debate in our society.

"There's just absolutely no relationship between all of these classifications that he linked Scottish nationalists to.

"And I want to make sure we have respectful debate. I'm fed up of disrespectful debate in our politics and I think the Prime Minister's contribution slotted in directly into that disrespectful debate.

"So I think he should apologise. I think he should withdraw his remarks. I think they're foolish remarks and they don't help having reasonable debate in our society."