SNP MEMBERS are urging the Scottish Government to say sorry for Scotland’s role in the slave trade.

Proposers of a motion, which could be debated at the party’s annual conference in October, say the apology would help raise public awareness of the role Scots “played in the development of the slave trade and in the exploitation of slave labour in the sugar, tobacco and cotton colonies of the Caribbean and North America”.

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The motion follows on from last year’s admission by Glasgow University that it had benefited from the equivalent of tens of millions of pounds donated from the profits of slavery.

A year-long study found that despite the university having “adopted a clear anti-slavery position”, during the 18th and 19th centuries, it received gifts and bequests from people connected to slavery.

The university has since pledged to create a centre for the study of slavery and has agreed to add a memorial or tribute at the university in the name of the enslaved.

Writing in The Herald last year, Scotland’s leading historian, and the editor of Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past, Professor Sir Tom Devine, said the whole country had flourished thanks to the wealth of slavery. “Few Scots who lived in the 18th and early 19th centuries could have been immune from the direct or indirect impact of the slave-based economies on their lives whether or not they were active in the ‘nefarious trade’ itself,” he wrote.

Devine added: “Those involved in slavery have long gone but their legacy lives on in country houses, university and school benefactions, church buildings, statues, civic institutions, museum collections and much more. For those who care to look, it is all around.”

In a leaked copy of the provisional agenda for the SNP’s conference, the Glasgow Provan Constituency Branch calls on the Scottish Government to “examine the possibility of making a formal national apology for Scotland’s role in the perpetuation of slavery and colonialism”.

The motion, which, if selected by the party’s Conferences Committee, will be debated and voted on by the delegates at the gathering in Aberdeen, also calls for the Government to “examine ways of strengthening formal relations with those African and Caribbean countries – most notably Jamaica and Sierra Leone - most negatively affected by the legacy of Scottish involvement in slavery.”

In 2007, the then prime minister Tony Blair apologised for the UK’s role in the slave trade.