LIBDEM leader Jo Swinson has claimed Scottish and English nationalism serve the same purpose. 

In an exclusive interview with The Herald, the MP said claims that Scottish nationalism is different is an example of "exceptionalism" which suggests "we're better than the others". 

Swinson added both forms of nationalism force people to choose between the identities of European, British and Scottish. 

In the wide-ranging interview, the party leader also said she was more "determined" than ever in her support for the Union as a result of the Brexit process. 

“Would I rather have a cup of tea with Nicola Sturgeon than Nigel Farage, yes,” Swinson said. “But ultimately, it’s about exceptionalism for one nation and trying to define around that nationhood rather than being more open to those people that are our closest neighbours.

READ MORE: Jo Swinson accused of hypocrisy over Scottish independence

"Ultimately, Scottish nationalism still wants to break up the United Kingdom and, even when it says ‘Scottish nationalism is different’, there’s an exceptionalism which sort of says ‘we’re better than the others’ which, as a humanist, I don’t believe that.

"I love Scotland. I love Britain. I don’t think that makes us better than other people elsewhere and we should be working with them and we can achieve more together. So it’s that openness that’s important.”

Asked if the official LibDem position to effectively ignore the 2016 Brexit referendum result but refuse a second Scottish independence referendum to be held made the Scottish party leader Willie Rennie's [below] job more difficult, Swinson said that wasn't the case. 

The National:

“I don’t think it does,” says Swinson. “We have a very consistent position – we’re saying we believe the best future is for Scotland to be in the UK and the UK to be in the EU. That is an entirely consistent position. It’s what we believe to be the case and we’re acting in a way that we think is to protect Scotland’s best future.”

Swinson also claimed the LibDems are the leading Unionist party in politics at the moment. 

"“I look around,” she says, “and see Labour trying to do a deal with the SNP for indyref2 and I see the Conservatives doing what they’re doing and we’re the ones standing up and saying our United Kingdom is really important. The 300 years of shared history, the prosperity and the culture and the ties we have across borders. Those are really valuable. A few years ago, lots of parties were making that case; now it feels very much that it’s fallen to the Liberal Democrats to make.”

READ MORE: Jo Swinson denies the LibDems are becoming new Tory-lite party

The East Dumbartonshire MP added that the Brexit process had increased her passion for the Union. 

“I’m more determined because, when you saw that Brexit vote happen and now we see what it’s led to, it’s been a textbook demonstration of why breaking up is hard to do and the type of chaos we’d be mired in if we were suddenly in independence negotiations. The interlinking of the 300 years of Union has been much, much deeper than the 40 years of European union.”