Claims by the Labour party that support for Scottish independence is no different to racism, have been condemned by the First Minister.
Nicola Sturgeon has today called the comments from Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan “ill-judged” and “an insult” to Scots who supported independence.
The First Minister was responding after Khan equated Scottish nationalism with anti-English xenophobia and racism. In an article for the Daily Record, Khan said: “The last thing we need now is to pit different parts of our country or sections of our society against each other – or to further fuel division or seek separation.
“There’s no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis of whether we’re English or Scottish and those who try to divide us on the basis of our background, race or religion.”
The comments have sparked fury on social media with calls for Scottish Labour to condemn Khan’s rhetoric. However far from distancing themselves from the claims, at least two senior Scottish Labour MSPs have appeared to endorse Khan’s view.
Responding to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s criticism of Khan’s comments, Scottish Labour front bencher Jackie Baillie tweeted: “if nationalism is not about racism why then do your supporters tell me to go home because of my accent?”
Her colleague Anas Sarwar accused the Minister of lying, and tweeted: “All forms of nationalism rely on creating an “us” vs “them”. Let’s drop the Scottish exceptionalism & call it out for what it is.”
He added: “@NicolaSturgeon drop faux outrage. Real moral bankruptcy is you lying to Scots, having no economic plan & trying to rip apart our country.”
Claims that the independence movement is based on anti-English xenophobia and racism has long featured in Unionist rhetoric.
Similar allegations were prominent during the 2014 referendum campaign.
Despite claims from Unionists, evidence of racism and xenophobia is most prevalent amongst pro-Union organisations.