Sturgeon: SNP not racist or anti-English

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted the SNP is not "racist or anti-English" as she was urged to condemn comments by a Nationalist councillor suggesting Scotland had been run by "quislings."
Nicola Sturgeon insisted the SNP is not racistNicola Sturgeon insisted the SNP is not racist
Nicola Sturgeon insisted the SNP is not racist

Councillor Dave Doogan, an SNP councillor in Perth and Kinross Council also claimed Scotland had been "under the heel of foreign influence and power for 300 years", MSPs heard at First Ministers Questions.

The comments were put to Ms Sturgeon by the Perthshire Tory MSP Murdo Fraser.

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The First Minister was quick to denounce comments by Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London at the recent Scottish Labour conference in Perth, when he compared nationalism with racism.

Ms Sturgeon described these as "spectacularly ill judged and an insult."

Mr Fraser said Councillor Doogan was until recently employed by John Swinney and delivered a speech in Gaelic to fellow councillors during a recent debate on the language, but provided a translation to local media.

Mr Fraser told MSPs today that it stated: "Let us not reflect on concerns that we have been under the heel of foreign influence and power for 300 years.

"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."

The term "quisling" is a commonly used to refer to those collaborating with an occupying power.

Mr Fraser added: "Given the First Minister comments about Sadiq Khan's language, does she believe that Councillor Doogan's comments were appropriate - or does she apply one standard to members of other parties and a different standard to members of her own?"

But the First Minister said: "I condemn any comments or any language, no matter who it's from, that is in any way shape or form racist or anti-English or in any way seeks to divide people on the basis of their ethnicity.

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"That's not what my party or my movement - the movement I'm part of is for or represents."

The First Minister said that in the the SNP and the "wider independence movement" is currently among the loudest voices in the UK arguing for "diversity, tolerance and freedom of movement" in the current Brexit debate.

She added: "We still have a Tory Government that will not even guarantee the rights of EU nationals to live here - that is what's disgraceful.

"I will practice the values that I hold dear and I would expect everybody to do likewise."