THE First Minister has called on Labour leadership candidate Lisa Nandy to "clarify" what she meant when she suggested Scotland could learn from how "divisive nationalism" was beaten in Catalonia.

The Wigan MP was asked about her plans for an "international commission" for Scotland, which would seek to learn from examples in other countries where "the cause of social justice has beaten divisive nationalism", during an interview with Andrew Neil last night.

The journalist asked Nandy for further details on what such a commission would involve. Replying, she told Neil that it would "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: Lisa Nandy under fire for Catalonia claim in Andrew Neil interview

Catalonia's 2017 independence referendum saw police violence take place against voters, while last year a group of pro-independence leaders involved in the vote were sentenced to years of prison time each. Some elected representatives left Catalonia after the vote and are now exiled, including former president Carles Puigdemont and education secretary Clara Ponsati - who now resides in Scotland.

During First Minister's Questions this afternoon, Angela Constance asked Nicola Sturgeon: "What’s the First Minister’s message to labour supporters who will be rightfully mortified by the ill-considered and frankly offensive leadership pitch by Labour’s Lisa Nandy who wants to set up an international commission against Scottish independence, presumably so the UK can deal with Scotland as Spain has dealt with Catalonia.

The National: Lisa Nandy's comments drew criticismLisa Nandy's comments drew criticism

"Surely this is a potentially inflammatory and undemocratic position to take?

Sturgeon said the MSP was right to raise the issue.

She went on: "'I'm actually going to try to give Lisa Nandy the benefit of the doubt. I’m going to assume, hard though it may be to believe, that when she made the comments that she did, she hadn’t paid attention to what has actually happened in Catalonia in recent times.

"Because if she had, she would surely not have suggested that there are any positive lessons at all to be learned from that.

READ MORE: Catalan politician slams Lisa Nandy over independence comments

"So perhaps Lisa Nandy should take the opportunity to clarify exactly what she did mean, recognise the concern it has caused and perhaps even apologise for that."

Meanwhile, former first minister Jack McConnell (below), who is backing Nandy for Labour leader, said some of the outrage over Nandy's comment was "wild nonsense".

The National:

Taking to Twitter to express his frustration, the Labour peer posted: "Twittermania last night. @lisanandy said on @afneil show Labour should look 'outwards' and learn lessons from 'brief moments in history' when a 'social justice agenda' beat nationalism 'in places like Catalonia & Quebec' Wild nonsense on here about encouraging state violence.

"You compare a desire to learn from the democratic political experience of sister social democratic parties who have faced the same challenge as Scottish Labour to the violence around the Catalan referendum. Really?? @IainMcWhirter @KirstyStricklan ??

"Scottish politics has been insular for far too long. The idea that someone might actually look elsewhere for ideas and experience is a breath of fresh air."

Nandy joins four other candidates in the Labour leadership race after she received 31 nominations from fellow MPs and MEPs.

The other candidates are Emily Thornberry, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Keir Starmer and Jess Phillips. 

Lisa Nandy has been approached for comment.