NICOLA Sturgeon has called for Lisa Nandy to apologise after she claimed “Catalonia may provide lessons in beating divisive nationalism”.

The First Minister was asked about the remarks made by the Labour leadership contender in a television interview on Wednesday night.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Neil show, she said: “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.”

Nandy’s remarks provoked an outcry both in Scotland and Catalonia where Spanish police stormed polling stations after the government staged an independence referendum in October 2017.

The brutal crackdown saw hundreds of Catalans injured, political leaders receive lengthy jail sentences and the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont go into exile.

Sturgeon was asked by SNP backbencher Angela Constance about the Wigan MP’s comments.

The First Minister said: “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.

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

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Nandy’s comments overshadowed the launch in Edinburgh of Ian Murray’s bid to become Labour’s deputy leader.

After his speech, he told reporters “I say this to all leadership and deputy leadership candidates, please don’t come up to Scotland and talk about things that you’re not quite sure what you’re talking about.”

During his speech the Pro-Union Edinburgh South MP - Labour’s only MP in Scotland following a disastrous General Election - launched an outspoken attack on John McDonnell for changing Labour’s policy on independence during an appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

The shadow chancellor contradicted Scottish Labour policy – to oppose a second independence referendum – when he said his party would not stand in the way of a second independence referendum if they won the General Election.

READ MORE: First Minister adamant Tories will not be able to block indyref2

“Let’s never again have a senior member of the Labour Party coming to a fringe show at the Edinburgh Festival and changing our constitutional position on Scotland without telling anyone about it”, he said.

“That is not just disrespectful to the Labour Party, it is not just disrespectful to the Scottish Labour Party, its disrespectful to every single person who looks to the Labour Party for holding this UK together, and standing up for the key principle that independence for Scotland is bad for Scotland, and independence for Scotland is bad for the rest of the United Kingdom.”

The Edinburgh South MP pledged to tour the country during his campaign to listen to voters “left behind” by the party following their historic election defeat. Following the election Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard launched a review to get clarity on its policy.

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However, the party’s internal debate has dominated the headlines with several senior Scottish Labour figures saying it should back a second independence referendum, though they remain opposed to independence.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Long-Bailey yesterday scored a significant boost in her quest to become Labour leader after securing the backing of the Momentum campaign group. The shadow business secretary – a frontrunner in the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn – won the overwhelming endorsement of its members in the result of the ballot announced yesterday.

Though the result is not unexpected, the Labour frontbencher will now be boosted by the campaigning firepower of the group, which has long supported the outgoing leader.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner was also endorsed as deputy leader following the confirmatory ballot of Momentum members.

READ MORE: Rebecca Long-Bailey leading race to be next Labour leader

Long-Bailey said: “Momentum members alongside hundreds of thousands of other Labour members worked day and night across the country to elect a Labour government last December, knocking on millions of doors.

“I am proud and beyond grateful to be backed by an organisation that has revolutionised how we campaign.”

Momentum now plans to run “hundreds” of phone banks across the country and encourage supporters to use apps to make “hundreds of thousands of calls” to members in support of Long-Bailey.

The campaign group said 70.42% of respondents voted in the ballot to approve Long-Bailey, while 52.15% were in favour of supporting Rayner.