LABOUR leadership contender Lisa Nandy is facing criticism after suggesting Scotland could look to Catalonia to find answers on beating "divisive nationalism".

Earlier this week the Wigan MP spoke of her plan for an "international commission" created by and for the Scottish people, which would aim to learn from examples in other countries where "the cause of social justice has beaten divisive nationalism".

READ MORE: Lisa Nandy proposes 'international commission' against independence

The National contacted the candidate for further details on what such a commission would involve, but did not receive any response.

Last night in an interview with journalist Andrew Neil, Nandy was asked what she meant by the suggestion.

The MP responded by saying places like Catalonia and Quebec have "lessons" for Scotland.

Catalonia's 2017 independence referendum saw police violence against voters, ballot boxes seized by authority, and just last year, political leaders jailed for holding such a vote. 

In October Spain's Supreme Court jailed nine pro-independence politicians who had been involved in the referendum for a number of years each. Other leaders who left Catalonia following the vote are now exiled, including Clara Ponsati who lives in Scotland. 

Replying to Neil, Nandy said: "You sound really confused by this and I’m surprised, because you surely must have been watching as socialists have been beaten over and over again by nationalists and the idea that we have all the answers in the Labour Party – I’m sorry there isn’t a single person who believes that.

"I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying that rather than turn inwards and argue about resources, we should look outwards to other countries and other parts of the world where they’ve had to deal with divisive nationalism and seek to discover the lessons from when in those brief moments in history in places like Catalonia and Quebec we have managed to go and beat narrow, divisive nationalism with a social justice agenda."

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: Why have Labour got it so wrong on Scotland?

Neil suggested that the Scottish independence movement would argue it offers a "kind of nationalism" that "goes hand in hand with social justice".

Nandy denied that. She went on: "I think it suits the Scottish nationalists actually to keep this argument going about independence because while the entire conversation in Scotland is focused on the constitution, nobody is paying attention to their record which is frankly appalling."

She added she would not support another vote on Scottish independence.

On social media many were critical of Nandy's suggestion.

Valentina Servera Clavell, who is from Catalonia and now campaigns for Scottish independence, said the candidate should apologise. 

She tweeted: Dear @lisanandy I would like you to apologise for these comments. Do you have a clue of what we the Catalan people have suffered for centuries? The police brutality is the top of the iceberg. Both Catalonia and Scotland will be independent and no intimidation will stop it!"

Columnist Ian Macwhirter posted: "Lisa Nandy on @afneil ... 'We should look outwards to other countries where they've had to deal with divisive places like like Catalonia'. So broken heads, riot police and locking up elected politicians. Someone tell me I misheard, please."

And The Skotia reporter Michael Gray wrote: "Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy says she wants to "beat" independence in Scotland by following Spain's treatment of Catalonia - where state police attacked voters at polling stations & Catalan political & civic leaders were jailed. More in common with Franco than Hardie."

Nandy won 31 nominations from Labour MPs and MEPs on Monday, making her one of five leadership contenders in the race.