The Scottish secretary has hit out at Nicola Sturgeon for saying she “detests the Tories”, invoking the murder of David Amess at the hands of a terrorist as an example of why language is “terribly important in politics”.
Alister Jack said Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross was “absolutely right” to call out the First Minister for her remarks during the SNP conference at the weekend.
In the Commons on Wednesday, Ross claimed Sturgeon had insulted “hundreds and thousands of Scottish Conservative voters” when she said she “detests” the Tories during a broadcast interview.
Jack agreed with him, and said Ross was “absolutely right to call it out”.
Ross had asked: “Does the secretary of state agree with me that language is also really important and when the First Minister said that she ‘detests the Tories’, – and the cheers coming from the SNP – she is insulting hundreds and thousands of Scottish Conservative voters when she should be representing the whole of Scotland as First Minister?”
Jack responded saying language is “terribly important in politics”.
“We saw the desperate death of David Amess and others before him,” he continued.
“And you cannot incite people using words like detest, which as you’ll see in the dictionary – the other word is hate – and the irony is the Scottish Government bring forward a hate Bill and yet we have language like detest, you’re absolutely right to call it out.”
Prime Minister Liz Truss later paid tribute to the late MP Sir David Amess in the chamber, ahead of the first anniversary of his murder.
On Monday, Sir Keir Starmer said he “wouldn’t use (that) language” after he was asked by reporters about remarks made by the First Minister.
On the Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, Sturgeon said: “If the question to me is would I prefer a Labour government over a Tory government – I detest the Tories and everything they stand for so it’s not difficult to answer that question.”
Deputy first minister John Swinney said he associates himself with comments made by Nicola Sturgeon but said she was referring to “Conservative policies and the values of the Conservative Party”.