SCOTLAND’S health secretary has attacked Keir Starmer for making “inflammatory” remarks claiming that there are too many people from overseas working in the NHS.

Speaking on a visit to Wishaw General Hospital, Humza Yousaf said it was “despicable” that the UK Labour leader’s comments would make international staff working in the health service feel unwelcome.

He called on Starmer to withdraw the remarks and for Scottish Labour – who have attempted to distance themselves from the comments - to speak against them.

The UK Labour leader told the BBC in an interview that immigration is not the solution to solving the challenges facing the NHS and his party will not support open borders, adding: “I think we are recruiting too many people from overseas in, for example, the health service”.

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Yousaf told The National he said he believed Starmer’s remarks were “inflammatory”.

The National:

He said: “I think there is no place for that kind of discourse in Scotland here at all, and I would say to Keir Starmer, and I would say to Scottish Labour, instead of caring about the front pages of certain right-wing newspapers, why don’t you just care about the frontline of our NHS?

“Because whether you are from overseas, or whether you have been working and living in Scotland for 20/30 years, you are all part of the one NHS family and I am grateful for all you do for us.”

When asked what message Starmer’s remarks would send to NHS staff who are from overseas, Yousaf said it would make them feel “unwelcome”.

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He added: “I have just spoken to an overseas member of staff working in the emergency department, he is a critical part of the team.

“He is giving his all to that role and himself undoubtedly because of the pressure feels absolutely exhausted.

“To make him feel unwelcome I think is pretty despicable and I think anybody with a shred of decency would withdraw those remarks.

“And I hope Scottish Labour, whose silence on this has been deafening, will speak up against it.”