TONY Blair was “put off being Scottish” by nationalist politicians like Alex Salmond.

Born and educated in Edinburgh, the former prime minister said he has a deep attachment to Scotland during an exclusive interview in today’s Herald.

Blair left Scotland in 1971, eventually embarking upon a political career which saw him elected as prime minister in 1997.

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“One of things that did pain me a lot before I left, but particularly after I left, was because people like Alex Salmond were very harsh critics in a very personal way,” he said.

“I was sorry actually, it became harder to have a relationship with Scotland that I felt really very deeply.

“Cherie and I used to have a holiday every year in Scotland before I became Labour leader.”

Upon being asked if it was because of figures on the nationalist side like Salmond which stopped him from claiming Scottish nationality, Blair added: “With the SNP today, and even though I don’t agree with the politics of Nicola Sturgeon, she is a significant figure, I don’t feel the same. I felt in that period it was very harsh on London.

“I used to say they don’t mind going to Brussels but going to London is like going to enemy territory. It caused quite unnecessary hurt.

“I remember talking to Scottish members of the Cabinet, who were ‘accused’ of going down to London as if the most terrible thing in the world was to be [there].

He continued: “I always considered myself very much from Scottish roots and my earliest memories are all of Scotland. I went to school there.

“I remember going to Murrayfield and watching the rugby time upon time. I’d love to spend more time in Scotland now. I’m always interested in the politics of Scotland and always was.

“We kept our Scottish representation very strong even in 2005.”

The former Labour leader also gave his view on why so many Scots had turned their back on the Labour Party in recent years.

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Blair blamed a “series of wrong decisions” before hitting out the Jeremy Corbyn-led party for lacking any strategy to win Scots back.

He added that the politics of Corbyn do not appeal in to Scottish voters.

“The fact, is the Labour Party could come back in Scotland if it wanted to,” said Blair.

“But it has just got the wrong strategy.”