An SNP MSP has been criticised after he referred to Brexit voters as “little Englanders”.
Richard Lochhead, until recently a senior Scottish Government cabinet secretary, used the “inflammatory” phrase in a statement about the UK formally leaving the EU.
Mr Lochhead represents Moray, an area in which nearly 50 per cent of residents voted to leave.
And even Mr Lochhead’s SNP parliamentary colleague, Alex Neil, voted for Brexit.
The former rural affairs secretary said today: “The Little Englanders and their opportunist bedfellows in the Conservative Party are inflicting the biggest economic dislocation on Scotland for generations.”
Scottish Conservative Moray MP Douglas Ross said:
“This is an incredible attack from someone in a position of responsibility.
“He seems to forget one million Scots – including many SNP supporters – voted for Brexit, including nearly 50 per cent of people in Moray.
“His use of the term ‘little Englanders’ is inflammatory and dangerous and - if political opponents used that kind of language - the SNP would be up in arms.
“But like so many statements by nationalist politicians, it is aimed at stoking up feelings among extremists in the hope of creating a gulf between Scotland and England.
“It’s hugely irresponsible, and will never work.”
Notes to editors:
The full release from Mr Lochhead is below:
LOCHHEAD COMMENTS ON UK’S DEPATURE FROM EUROPE THIS WEEK
MSP for Moray Richard Lochhead has commented on the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union this week.
Mr Lochhead said:
“ The UK’s departure from the European Union this week is both heart-breaking and an act of self-sabotage.
“ It is not something that Moray or Scotland voted for but it will have profound political, cultural, economic and social ramifications for families, communities and our country.
“ Moray and Scotland’s proud ties with Europe go back centuries bringing us many benefits.
“ Most of all, the European Union that emerged from the ashes of the Second World War has delivered environmental, economic and social benefits and most of all peace. It is not a perfect organisation but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.
“ I feel both sorry and angry when I think about what Brexit means for our young people in particular. They face losing many of the benefits my and previous generations enjoyed. Taken away from them by populist politicians they didn’t vote for and don’t agree with. Our young people want to be young Europeans as well as young Scots.
“ I also feel for all the thousands of non-UK EU nationals living in Moray and trust they will take heart from all messages of solidarity. We must reach out to them in their hour of need.
“ The Little Englanders and their opportunist bedfellows in the Conservative Party are inflicting the biggest economic dislocation on Scotland for generations.
“ I hope that one day soon Scotland will again be back in the heart of Europe amongst our dearest friends. Ultimately, our own future is in our hands.”