JACOB Rees-Mogg has compared SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes to Mary Queen of Scots following the row over some of her views.

Scotland’s Finance Secretary lost some of her key endorsements after saying that she would have voted against equal marriage laws were she an MSP when the vote was held.

Asked about her views on having children out of wedlock, Forbes told Sky News that it was something she would “seek to avoid for me personally”.

In a column in the Daily Mail, Rees-Mogg said that anybody who wished to “destroy the United Kingdom”, which he described as “the most successful political union in history”, don’t normally “deserve sympathy”.

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However, he then wrote: “The treatment of Kate Forbes, purely because of her religious belief, shows an intolerance that is growing like a canker in the body politic.

“The last Scottish female public figure to be treated so badly for her religion was Mary, Queen of Scots, who was chased out of her country and eventually beheaded by her cousin Elizabeth for her Catholicism.”

Forbes is a member of the Free Church of Scotland which has already condemned the “anti-Christian intolerance” shown to the leadership hopeful.

Rees-Mogg’s column continued: “All she has done is express, as a member of the Free Church of Scotland, views that are held by millions of Christians across the world and have been usual in British society since the end of the Dark Ages.”

He said the reaction was as though Forbes wanted “to turn Scotland into Iran” and that she simply wanted freedom to express her views – something the “bigots of the left” found it “impossible” to accept.

Rees-Mogg added that the Conservative Party is “the only party that tolerates a range of opinions, accepting freedom of religion and conscience” and that it “allowed free votes on these issues”.

The SNP leadership race remains ongoing with Forbes emerging as the favourite to replace Nicola Sturgeon in a poll commissioned by The Sunday Times.