GEORGE Galloway has been accused of “race-baiting” after he targeted one of Scotland’s two MSPs from a minority background on Twitter.

Galloway, who is standing for Holyrood with Alliance for Unity (A4U), was widely condemned on social media for his tweet, which Michael Russell described as “gutter, dog-whistle politics”.

The former Labour MP, who recently announced he would be voting Tory in the upcoming Holyrood elections, apparently tweeted in response to a post from Humza Yousaf celebrating St Patrick’s Day.

The Justice Secretary wrote: “Happy St Patrick’s Day to our celtic cousins in Ireland! Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!


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Responding to the post, Galloway wrote: “You’re a Celt? Seriously?”

He then tweeted: “Well #Humza you’re not more Scottish than me. You’re not a Celt like me. You’re not working-class like me. You didn’t go to a state school like me. You’re not more socialist than me. So stop pretending. You’re a poseur. @Alliance4Unity”

Galloway later retweeted a post from an account with the handle @maureen6johnson which claimed Yousaf was angry about “so many white people being in jobs in Scotland”.

Still visible on Galloway’s Twitter profile, it reads: “Getting this yet @HumzaYousaf Only person who has made many of us feel uneasy is you and your rage against so many white people being in jobs in Scotland, when in fact Scotland’s white population is around 90%. You sound racist. People were embarrassed. Look to yourself.”

The attack on the SNP MSP caused widespread outrage, with Yousaf himself accusing the A4U man of “race-baiting mince”.

He tweeted: “You haven't managed to ever get elected to the Scottish Parliament like me. And I suspect the voters of Scotland will show you the cat flap again come 6th May.

“When you are shown the door, please take your race-baiting ‘You're not a Celt like me’ mince with you.”

Other SNP politicians quickly came out in support of Yousaf. Russell tweeted: “Man in a hat tells someone else to stop being a poseur. The rest is gutter dog-whistle politics but from this source not unexpected."

The Constitution Secretary added: “Proud to call @HumzaYousaf a friend and still in awe of his mentor, the first #ScotsAsian MSP, my dear friend the late lamented Bashir Ahmed.”

The SNP’s leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, said Galloway’s tweet was “shameful”.

He wrote: “Those who live in Scotland make a welcome contribution to our diversity, they shape collectively who we are, we are after all, all Jock Tamson’s bairns.

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“All are welcome and we never, not ever make a judgement on anyone being more Scottish than the next person. This is shameful.”

Condemnation also came from academics, with the University of Glasgow’s Dr Ewan Gibbs saying Galloway’s tweet had been “much much worse” than the “stupid piece of ethnicity-class footballing authenticity” he had originally taken it as.

National columnist Gerry Hassan said Galloway had entered the “racist gutter and sewer”, adding: “This is a race-baiting, vile tweet from a man who used to see himself as anti-racist and anti-imperialist. ‘Not a Celt like me’ is not about Celtic FC but ethnicity and identity and truly appalling.”

Responding to the outpouring of support, Yousaf this morning tweeted: “Thank you for all the solidarity folks, Galloway isn't the first race-baiter nor the last that I will encounter.

“The people of Scotland will give him the boot, let's not give the desperate attention seeker any more of the oxygen of publicity he craves. #HopeNotHate”

Defending his position on Twitter, Galloway later wrote: “As the father of FIVE mixed-race children I treat #Humza’s accusation that I’m a racist with contempt. He’s accused a lot of Scottish people of this sin and we are all getting sick and tired of it. In fact most of the racism in this country is deliberately engendered by the SNP.”

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He added: “All the ‘giein it laldy’ in the world #Humza will not change the fact that you are a privately-educated privileged poseur pretending that you’re more Scottish than us because you wave SNP flags. Stop pretending.”

He also retweeted a claim from another A4U candidate, David Coburn, that the SNP were “worried about [Galloway] being elected to Holyrood”, rather than genuinely offended.

At the beginning of March Galloway called Yousaf a “gutless coward” after the Justice Secretary tweeted about his plans to vote Tory in May without “tagging” him.

Galloway did not tag Yousaf in any of the tweets aimed at him yesterday, instead using the hashtag #Humza.