UNIONIST politicians have accused the SNP of drawing from the “Trump playbook” after those opposed to a second referendum were accused of “denying democracy”.

Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said Nicola Sturgeon’s remarks that independence supporters were now “Scotland’s democracy movement” were reminiscent of former US president Donald Trump’s populist tactics.

He tweeted: “This ‘Scotland’s democracy movement’ title is straight out of the Trump playbook and can get in the bin.

“I was elected to oppose a referendum with more votes than any other candidate in the history of the Scottish Parliament. It’s my democratic duty to continue to oppose it.”

It comes after the First Minister addressed a Yes rally for the first time since 2019 after the Supreme Court blocked a second Scottish independence referendum.

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The court ruled plans to hold a vote in October next year without Westminster’s permission were not lawful under the terms of the Scotland Act – the law which created the Scottish Parliament and set its powers.

Ian Murray, the shadow Scottish secretary and the country’s only Labour MP, made similar comments in a Twitter discussion about what one commentator described as a shift in the language of the Yes movement.

He tweeted: “We are in a bad place when the government untruthfully claims democracy denial as a concept to inflame.”

In an interview with Sky News on Wednesday after the ruling was announced, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said Sturgeon wanted to “play on the politics of anger”.

He said: “I just have a very different view and a very different vision for the future of Scotland than Nicola Sturgeon does.

“I believe in cooperation, she believes in conflict. I believe in unity, she believes in division.

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“She wants to play on the politics of anger, I want to defeat the politics of anger. That’s more Scottish in my view, through our Scottish history, than what she presents as part of the Scottish National Party platform.”

Alistair Carmichael, the LibDem MP for Orkney and Shetland, wrote in The Independent on Wednesday that the SNP were conflating a second referendum with democracy – something he described as “dangerous”.

He wrote: “Sturgeon and the SNP suggest that we are currently not living in a real democracy. It is a dangerous route to go down.

“If you tell people for long enough that they do not live in a democracy, that there is a boot upon their neck, then they will start to believe it – and act accordingly.

“If you tell people – as the First Minister did today – that ‘the very democracy of our nation depends on independence’ then the implication is chilling.

“If you do not believe that the country you live in is a democracy then all sorts of behaviours become legitimised. Opponents become enemies; contrary voices become traitors and quislings.”

A spokesman for the First Minister said: “The only people behaving like Donald Trump are the Unionist politicians who are trying to pretend they won an election they lost.”