HUMZA Yousaf has accused a nursery of discriminating against ethnic minorities after it refused to accept his two-year-old daughter, but accepted children with "white Scottish" names.

The Health Secretary and his wife Nadia El-Nakla are demanding an official investigation after their child and others with Muslim-sounding names were rejected while toddlers with non-ethnic names were admitted.

The couple, as well as a reporter from the Daily Record, set up fake profiles in a bid to confirm their suspicions that staff were discriminating against some applicants.

Yousaf, who has lodged a complaint with the Care Inspectorate, explained the decision had not been made “lightly”.

El-Nakla originally applied for daycare at Little Scholars Nursery in Broughty Ferry in September 2020 and again in May, but said she was issued “abrupt” rejections.

In May, she inquired about a space for her daughter on two afternoons a week from August onwards.

Yousaf explained on social media: “After our nursery application for our daughter was refused a second time, my wife asked her White Scottish friend to put in an application for a child the same age. Within 24hrs of refusing our application my wife's friend's was accepted.”

A suspicious El-Nakla – who works for Dundee East MSP Shona Robison – also asked her sister Sara Ahmed to make an application for her two-year-old. She too was told there no availability “at the present time or for the ­foreseeable future”.

The National: Humza Yousaf and wife Nadia El-NaklaHumza Yousaf and wife Nadia El-Nakla

But when El-Nakla set up a fake profile with a “white Scottish” name, Suzy Sheppard, she was offered a place.

The couple then asked the Daily Record to investigated further. The paper created two fake profiles and applied to the nursery.

READ MORE: Angry, tired, had enough: Humza Yousaf on racism

Yousaf wrote: “[The Record] created two profiles with kids same age, their requirements the same. ‘Aqsa Akhtar’ application was rejected while ‘Susan Blake’ was offered a choice of four afternoons.”

He added: “I cannot tell you how angry I am. As a father all I want to do is protect my girls, yet aged 2 I believe my daughter has faced discrimination. If this had not happened to me I'm not sure I would have believed it could happen in 2021. How many other families has this happened to?”

The Health Secretary added: “We are fooling ourselves if we believe discrimination doesn't exist in Scotland.

"I believe evidence we have proves our case beyond doubt. As well as reporting the nursery to Care Inspectorate we are also seeking legal advice. No explanation has been forthcoming.”

A spokesman for the owner of the nursery, Usha Fowdar, who is originally from Mauritius, declined to comment on “each ­individual email ­application”.

He told the Record: “Our nursery is extremely proud of being open and inclusive to all and any claim to the contrary is demonstrably false and an ­accusation that we would refute in the strongest possible terms.

“In addition to our owners being of Asian heritage, across more than a decade we have regularly welcomed both children and staff from a range of different religious, cultural, ethnic and racial ­backgrounds including two Muslim families currently.

“We have also regularly made arrangements to accommodate different lifestyles by, for example, providing a halal menu for those children who come from Muslim families.”

Yousaf was not satisfied with the nursery's response.

He added: "It doesn't matter what my position or how senior in Govt I may be, some will always see me, my wife & children by our ethnicity or religion first.

"We have given Little Scholars nursery every opportunity for an explanation for the disparity in treatment, none has been forthcoming ... we will pursue the truth & get answers we deserve."