SNP calls for apology over Sunak comments comparing Scots to Russia

The Prime Minister compared those calling for Scottish independence with Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn and John Swinney have called on Rishi Sunak to apologise after allegedly comparing pro-Scottish independence campaigners to states like North Korea and Russia.

The First Minister demanded the Prime Minister apologises and withdraws the remarks, which he said were “disrespectful”.

His view was echoed by Mr Flynn at PMQs, who said: “On Monday, the Prime Minister outlined what he considers to be extremist threats to our society and in doing so, he actively compared North Korea, Iran and Russia with those people in Scotland who believe in independence.

“So can I ask him to rise once to the standards befitting of his office and apologise for those puerile and pathetic remarks?”

Rishi Sunak replied: “That’s not what I said, but I would say to the honourable gentleman that his party is indeed a threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom, and I hate to remind him that is literally their entire purpose.

“Because when the people of Scotland accepted the referendum in 2014, it was the SNP who didn’t. They went on creating a Minister for Independence, focused on constitutional wrangling, ignoring the needs of the people.

“Education standards falling, taxes rising, so actually finally he should do the right thing and end the obsession with independence, and put the needs of the Scottish people first.”

Mr Flynn said: “Let’s be clear, what the Prime Minister did was not just equate my colleagues and I to despotic and dangerous despots across the world, he proactively compared almost half of his Scottish population with a war criminal like Vladimir Putin, and he did so as their Prime Minister – as the man who represents them on the world stage, and the man who on these isles, is tasked with defending their liberties and their democracy.

“We know that his sorry time in office is rapidly coming to a conclusion. Is this really how he wants to be remembered?”

Mr Sunak replied: “As ever, distracting from the actual record of what the SNP are doing in Scotland, and this obsession with independence means that Scottish schoolchildren are being let down, plummeting down international league tables.

“The Scottish NHS – the only place in the United Kingdom where funding is actually falling in real terms, and taxes going up for ordinary hardworking families and small businesses.

“That is what the SNP are doing in Scotland while this UK Government is delivering for them.”

Speaking during a visit to Alloa Academy on Wednesday, Mr Swinney told LBC: “I think the Prime Minister’s reference was poorly judged, very poorly judged.

“I don’t think it helps to assist civilised, reasonable debate in our society. There’s absolutely no relationship between all of these classifications that he linked Scottish nationalists to.

“I want to make sure we have respectful debate. I think the Prime Minister’s contribution slotted in directly to disrespectful debate.

“I think he should apologise, I think he should withdraw his remarks. I think they’re foolish remarks.”

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