Transport minister Humza Yousaf has dismissed a claim made by a pro-Labour columnist in a row about nationalisation as “p*sh”.
The remarks followed a tweet posted by Owen Jones, a well-known left-wing commentator, who had expressed his support on social media for Scottish Labour leadership candidate Richard Leonard.
Jones posted that “Scottish Labour’s only hope is a genuine socialist alternative to the SNP.”
He added: “Sorry, SNP, Brian Souter’s assets are going to be nationalised so you’re going to have find some other revenues. Gutting, I know.”
Sir Brian Souter, a co-founder of the Stagecoach transport business, handed more than £2.5m to the Nationalists over eight years - but his donations to the party stopped after Alex Salmond stepped down as party leader in 2014.
Mr Yousaf ridiculed Mr Jones in response. He tweeted: “This is, as Richard Leonard would call it, pish. ScotLab blocked full railway powers (including nationalisation) coming to Scotland via the Smith Commission.”
He added: “As a minister (I have) only spoken to Brian Souter once to see if he could help Syrian refugees arriving in Lesbos - he was very willing to help.”
The first tweet was a reference to Mr Leonard’s campaign press officer stepping down last week.
Stephen Low issued a response to a media response entitled “comment on the latest Jackie Baillie pish”.
A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “In 2014, Scottish Labour called for a delay in the awarding of the franchise so a publicly owned People’s Scotrail could be created. Unfortunately, the SNP Government instead gave a ten year contract to Abellio and passengers have been paying the price since.
“Passengers are fed up paying more and more for overcrowded, delayed and cancelled trains. The SNP government could have made different choices with the powers it has but the only state-owned rail company that we have seen in Scotland under Humza Yousaf and the SNP is from the Netherlands.”