The SNP has been urged to discipline one of their councillors after he refused to apologise for inflammatory remarks made about English influence on Scotland.
Comments made by Dave Doogan, deputy leader of SNP-run Perth and Kinross council, had forced Nicola Sturgeon to insist that her party is not anti-English.
Mr Doogan, a former case worker for SNP deputy leader John Swinney, claimed Scotland had been “under the heel of foreign influence for 300 years”.
The local politician made his controversial claim in a speech made in Gaelic for a town hall meeting. Mr Doogan provided a translation.
He said: “Let us not reflect on concerns that we have been under the heel of foreign influence and power for over 300 years,” he told a town hall meeting [on 2 March] in a speech delivered partly in Gaelic, which he later translated.
“The island of Britain is no longer subject to the actions of quislings who may seek to see smaller cultures extinguished on an island of coffins by red coats.”
Yesterday Mr Doogan declined an opportunity to clarify his comments or apologise. He said: “I have no comment to make. If you want a comment you will need to go to the First Minister’s office.”
Scottish Conservative Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser called for disciplinary action to be taken. Mr Fraser said:“The SNP feigns horror whenever anyone accuses the party of being anti-English.
“Well, Dave Doogan isn’t doing anything to help that suspicion. Although Nicola Sturgeon tried to distance herself from his remarks, it is still not clear what action she will take. And given his lack of contrition, if the SNP leader doesn’t act decisively, we can only conclude that she thinks that language like this is acceptable from a senior elected SNP politician.”
A SNP spokesman said: “As the First Minister made very clear last week the SNP condemns all comments that are in any way, shape or form racist or anti-English or that in any way seek to divide people on the basis of their ethnicity.
“She also called on people to reflect carefully on the fact that the SNP is right now among the loudest voices in the UK calling for diversity, tolerance and freedom of movement and among the loudest voices standing up for the benefits of migration.”