A TORY MP has been slapped down for referring to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as “the principalities”.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, treasurer of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservatives, was rebuked by a political academic after making the comment in an interview with Radio Times.

The Conservative politician claimed “the principalities are out of step with England” on Covid restrictions as he urged Boris Johnson not to impose tougher restrictions south of the Border.

The Prime Minister has resisted calls for stricter rules to combat the rapid spread of Omicron. Whereas curbs on hospitality and large events have been introduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Scotland is not (and has never been) a 'principality'

Asked whether he was concerned that England was “out of step” with the rest of the UK in terms of Omicron restrictions, Clifton-Brown replied: “I think it is the other way round.”

“I think the principalities are out of step with England. I think they have been overly cautious, I think they are doing more damage to their economies than they need to, I think they are doing more damage to people’s liberties than they need to – I just don’t think the evidence, unless the data coming out today looks very different, is there for any further measures.”

The Cotswolds MP’s comments caused outrage on social media, with many Twitter users likening it to a comment from Tory trade minister Penny Mordaunt, who referred to the devolved nations as "territories".

Welcoming the reappointment of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Secretaries following a Cabinet reshuffle in September, she tweeted: “Important continuity in the territorial offices. Congratulations to all three.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon issues warning as Scotland records highest ever Covid figures

Dr Simon Lee, a senior political lecturer at the University of Hull, drew comparisons between Mordaunt and Clifton-Brown’s comments.

He commented: “Following @PennyMordaunt's 'Territorial', 'the principalities' is used by a @Conservatives MP to describe the nations of Wales and Scotland.

“This British nationalist and colonialist language symbolises muscular Unionism's negation of rival nationalities.”

Wales has long been irked by its description as a principality. Parts of the country made up the Principality of Wales following the country’s conquest in 1284, but this arrangement ended in the 1500s.

Clifton-Brown's Covid demands appear to have been accepted by the UK Government, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirming on Monday evening that further restrictions would not be imposed before New Year.