RETAIL giant Marks & Spencer finally acknowledged yesterday that Scotland and England are different countries and neither one nor the other should be labelled Great Britain.

On Wednesday we told how Marks & Spencer was taken to task by The National after reader Dr Stewart Brown contacted us to point out a mistake on the firm’s website.

On the whisky and gin pages in the food section of the website, Marks & Spencer listed the countries of origin as US, Ireland, India, England and “Great Britain”.

Dr Brown complained: “If Scotland only merits a listing under ‘Great Britain’, why does England not similarly fall within this ‘Great Britain’ category? Who on earth refers to whisky from Great Britain, or to British whisky when in fact the origin is Scotland and the spirit Scotch? Moreover, in terms of listing countries of origin, in any context England has exactly the same status as Scotland.”

Dr Brown was later told in an e-mail by a customer services operative: “At the moment, it looks like our customers are happy with how the Whisky is currently catagorised (sic).”

He replied by email: “So what is M&S’s justification for what otherwise is illogicality…a corporate strategy/agenda of some kind; a staff member’s misunderstanding of the structure of the UK; a staff member’s lack of awareness of the important branding issues for whisky and gin; or a staff member’s personal intransigence or agenda?

“Do I really have to encourage others to flood you with complaints before such a simple, logical change is made?”

After The National contacted Marks & Spencer, a spokesman told us that the mistake would be now be rectified. But by yesterday morning the only change was that the website continued to list Scottish gin and Scotch under “Great Britain” though a Scotland category did appear.

M&S finally sorted out the situation yesterday, and their spokesowman said: “I wanted to let you know that the problem has now been rectified – there are clear sections under ‘Country’ for both Scotland and England.

“Thank you for raising this to our attention.”

On checking, the products are now correctly labelled.

Since we ran the story about Scotland The Brand, The National has been inundated with stories of “Union Jackery” – labels that once were Scottish being replaced with the Union flag and “made in Great Britain”.

Our intrepid team of investigative journalists is on the case. Please buy The National tomorrow for a major announcement on the issue of Scotland The Brand.