DOUGLAS Ross has accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of “spreading Republican statements” following a meeting she held with Ireland’s Taoiseach.

The Scottish Tory leader fumed that the FM referred to “the north of Ireland” rather than Northern Ireland in a social media post.

Sturgeon met with Taoiseach Micheal Martin in Blackpool on Friday morning ahead of the British Irish Council (BIC) summit.

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Hosted this year by the UK Government, Sturgeon met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove on Thursday night.

After her meeting with Martin, the FM posted a photograph of the two smiling on Twitter, with the caption: “They discussed progress on climate change, Ukraine, the political situation in the north of Ireland and economic prospects across Ireland and the UK.”

Over an hour and a half later, Ross reshared the post criticising the First Minister for her phrasing.

He wrote: “It’s not the ‘North of Ireland’. It’s Northern Ireland.

“The First Minister shouldn’t be spreading Republican statements.”

It is understood that the phrase “north of Ireland” is how those in the Republic of Ireland refer to the region, but it also has republican connotations.

The First Minister's social media page deleted the tweet around half an hour after Ross posted.

The page proceeded to tweet the picture of Sturgeon and Martin again with the amended caption stating "Northern Ireland".

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “This was a typing error that was quickly corrected.”

Social media users were quick to mock Ross for his comments.

One wrote: “It's definitely the north of Ireland, I even checked a map. You struggle with geography there?”

Another added: “British occupied bit of Ireland at the top of the island.”

While another said simply: “Oh dear, the sectarian card being played now.”