THE owner of a tablet company has said a Conservative attack on the homemade sweet is a new attempt by the party to belittle Scotland and its food industry.

Eric Spence was outraged when he read Children’s Minister Maree Todd had been criticised by the Tories for posting a recipe for the treat after making a batch with a group of youngsters.

“It’s quite clear to me that there has been an attempt over the last while to underplay and undermine the Scottish brand,” he told The National.

“There’s this rise in supermarkets to put Union Jacks on Scottish produce, you’re seeing strawberries from Perthshire covered in Union flags. And this is another case of the Tories wanting to undermine Scotland, of Scotland being a separate country, of having a separate culture. They just want us to be British.”

“Tabletgate”, as it became dubbed on social media , unfolded yesterday after the Conservatives attacked Todd for posting the recipe days after the Scottish Government unveiled a new healthy eating strategy. The ingredients for Todds’s tablet included 2lbs of sugar, 4oz of butter and a can of condensed milk.

A Conservative spokesman told The Herald: “It’s clear that when the SNP try to encourage healthy eating it’s do as I say and not as I do.” An irate Todd took to Twitter to explain her actions: “This is pretty lousy from both the @heraldscotland and the @ScotTories. I shared the recipe because I had spent a lot of time hand making a treat for care experienced young folk for their summer camp.”

SNP ministers piled in to defend their colleague who also got support from a Labour MSP and the Scottish Children’s Commissioner. Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Shirley Anne Somerville tweeted: “What a miserable bunch @ScotTories are. Someone makes traditional Scottish treat for care experienced young people and this is a bad thing!! Says more about their pathetic outlook on life than it does about @MareeToddMSP. PS Please make batch for when we get back from recess.”

Children’s Commissioner Bruce Adamson added: “My role @CYPCS is to hold @scotgov to account, but it is also to promote good practice. Young People’s Minister @MareeToddMSP home baked treats, packed them with love, & sent to care experienced young people at @whocaresscot summer camp. Brilliant #happiness #love #understanding.”

Labour’s Monica Lennon said: “Only the @ScotTories could have an adverse reaction to kindness, love and compassion; not ingredients that feature in their policy recipes.”

Spence runs the Scottish Tablet Company in Argyll with his wife Sandra. Much of their business comes from weddings, corporate entertaining and small retailers. “Scottish produce is highly regarded throughout the world. It’s seen as natural, fresh and good quality,” he added. “Tablet is made with a lot of sugar and high fat ingredients. But no one’s being encouraged to eat it in vast quantities. It’s a very occasional treat.”

Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw tweeted: “I like tablet. People should purchase & enjoy tablet (in moderation). The @ScotTories “spokesman” has had his tablet confiscated. And on behalf of us all, I encourage @MareeToddMSP to keep baking her most excellent tablet!”