NEWS

Sadiq Khan Comments On Nationalism Prompt Nicola Sturgeon To Retaliate

'Sheer desperation and moral bankruptcy.'

25/02/2017 13:10 | Updated 25 February 2017

Nicola Sturgeon has hit back at Sadiq Khan over comments he was expected to make about nationalism.

Speaking at the Scottish Labour conference in Perth, the mayor of London was due to call for a fight back against “narrow nationalist parties”.

He tweeted a preview of his speech, which read: “The world is becoming an increasingly turbulent and divided place. We’ve seen Brexit, President Trump elected in the United States and the rise of right-wing populist and narrow nationalist parties around the world.

Reuters
Sadiq Khan has been criticised for his comments about nationalism

“It’s up to us — whether in Scotland or in London — to fight this trend.

“The last thing we need now is to pit different parts of our country or sections of our society against each other — or to further fuel division or seek separation.

“There’s no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis of whether we’re English or Scottish and those who try to divide us on the basis of our background, race or religion.

“The antidote to Brexit and the rise of right-wing populist parties is not to run away, break away or push our neighbours away. It’s to lead in a different direction — the right direction.

“Now is the time to build unity, create a more United Kingdom and ensure everyone has the opportunities they need to succeed.”

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS via Getty Images
Nicola Sturgeon hit described the comments as 'spectacularly ill-judged'

The full speech was published in the Daily Record.

However, it later appeared that the speech had been amended so as to clarify that he was not claiming that nationalist were racist.

 

The original comments had left many Scottish nationalists, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, angry.

Sturgeon tweeted a series of responses...

Some SNP MPs also criticised him...

Many on social media seemed to take Khan’s original comments to be comparing nationalism and racism...

A spokesperson for Khan said: “The Mayor has been clear that now’s not the time to play on people’s fears or to pit one part of our country - or one section of our society - against each other.

“As he said today, there’s no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis of whether we’re English or Scottish, and those who try to divide us on the basis of our background, race or religion.    

“Of course the Mayor is not saying that nationalists are somehow racist or bigoted, but now, more than ever- what we don’t need is more division and separation.

“The key point he made to conference today was that now is the time to build unity.”

Khan’s comments came ahead of Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale’s speech to the conference, in which she was expected to pledge her commitment to working for a remain vote if a second Scottish independence referendum were to take place.

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