CONSERVATIVE MSP Tess White apologised after making an “unacceptable” comment towards Nicola Sturgeon during FMQs this afternoon.

The First Minister was responding to a question from Glasgow Labour MSP Pauline McNeill on what the Scottish Government is doing to tackle racism, when she stated that she wants the nation to be “an open welcoming country for all”.

Citing Conservative sources, it was reported that White used the opportunity to say “unless you’re English” in response to Sturgeon.

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The SNP leader said she would not normally do this, but she was so “deeply offended” by the alleged comment that she wanted to speak with presiding officer Alison Johnstone following FMQs to discuss the matter and urge the member to reflect on their comments.

Later this afternoon White apologised, telling the Chamber: "My comments during First Minister’s Questions were over the line and I would like to withdraw them and apologise to both the Chamber and the First Minister."

Johnstone responded: "Thank you, I’m grateful that Miss White has reflected on her behaviour and that you have apologised to the Chamber for these remarks. You will be in no doubt at all Miss White that great offence was caused and I would like to be absolutely certain that that is an unambiguous apology that you withdraw the remarks and you apologise wholeheartedly. Can you please stand and confirm that that is indeed the case."

White did stand and confirm. 

Johnstone went on: "I would just like to say further that on this occasion the fact that no further action will be taken does not in any way detract from the seriousness with which I view this incident. Members must be in no doubt at all that I expect that their conduct at all times will be worthy of that of a member of the Scottish Parliament."

The Scottish Conservatives have been approached for comment.

White has been an MSP for the North East Scotland region since her election in May of this year.

The National:

White can be seen here sitting on the front row

She is a member of the Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee, and the cross-party groups on disability and renewable energy/energy efficiency.

Within the Scottish Conservatives she is the deputy party spokesperson on employment, deputy party spokesperson on fair work, deputy party spokesperson on just transition and the party’s junior whip.

Prior to her election to the Scottish Parliament, White worked in the oil and gas sector. She served as board director at Shell Renewables.

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Ahead of the May election White’s page on the Dundee Conservatives website described her as having “highly effective people skills” and described her as a “key influencer”.

“A trusted leader for positive change,” it added.

White also stood as a candidate in Dundee West at the 2019 General Election, winning 12.4% of the vote behind the SNP’s Chris Law who secured 53.8%.