BORIS Johnson’s new Secretary of State for Scotland was ridiculed yesterday after he compared the SNP to far-right nationalist movements in other countries.

In a column for The Times, Alister Jack, said he could not see the difference between Scottish independence supporters “benign” nationalism and the xenophobic nationalism of others across the world.

The Brexiteer claimed Nicola Sturgeon’s party needed an “enemy to make it thrive”.

Jack said he was “unashamedly patriotic and passionate about” Scotland.

“No one cheers louder for Scotland; whether it’s Six Nations rugby, World Cup football or Commonwealth Games athletics, I’m right behind our sportsmen and women – but I’m just as much a fan of Team GB in the Olympics and my support for the British Lions is no less enthusiastic than it is for Scotland.

“I don’t see any contradictions there and nor do most Scots.

“I’m proud to be Scottish and British. I’m proud to be a Doonhamer, for that matter.

“I don’t think it is terribly complicated and I certainly don’t lose much sleep about my identity. That is simply who I am.”

Then, referencing The National’s campaign about Union flag branding on Scottish goods in supermarkets, Jack wrote: “Never mind the arrogance of telling Scottish businesses how to market their own products, it really showed the determination of some nationalists to find a grievance.”

Jack said the SNP “like nationalist movements the world over” requires “an enemy to make it thrive”.

He added: “It needs an ‘other’ to rail against. It’s all about finding something at which to take offence so they pick fights about flags on packaging, scour news bulletins and political shows for examples of imaginary bias.”

He accused the SNP of seeking “to exploit Brexit with a campaign of scaremongering”.

His column appeared just days after the leak of his Government’s own report warning of a three-month meltdown at the UK’s ports, a hard Irish border and shortages of food.

The document, known as Operation Yellowhammer, even warned of severe extended delays to medicine supplies if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October.

The SNP’s Tommy Sheppard, said Jack’s comments highlighted how “out of touch” the millionaire landowner was.

The MP said: “This is utterly desperate stuff from Boris Johnson’s man in Scotland. Sadly, this is the kind of thing we’ve come to expect from the Tories. They have no positive vision for Scotland, and are clearly rattled by the rising tide of support for independence. These comments only serve to highlight how out of touch [the] millionaire Brexiteer Mr Jack is from the reality of most people’s lives in Scotland.”

Ian Murray, Best for Britain supporter and former Shadow Scottish Secretary, said Jack’s priorities were all wrong.

“Brexit does not offer an ‘opportunity’ for Scotland. It is a historic threat to our economy, to the Union, and to opportunities for Scots.

“The Scottish Secretary should not be helping the Prime Minister deliver Brexit, he should be standing up for the people of Scotland and fighting a damaging hard Brexit that puts jobs and our country at risk.”