THE leader of the Scottish LibDems has said that Scotland “can never and should never exist again” in an “extraordinary” intervention during a debate on independence.

Speaking at an Oxford Union debate on Scottish independence, Alex Cole-Hamilton compared the Yes movement with the push for Brexit, saying both pined for “ancient nations” at odds with the modern world.

He said: “We are a people trapped between flags, between politicians who mythologise and pine for ancient nations that can never and should never exist again in the global world in which we find ourselves.”

A National reader got in touch to express his concern over the comments, calling them an “assault” on Scotland.

He added: “This is a national outrage. Offensive to the Scottish people, history and our culture.”

Alba said the “majority of Scots” would reject Cole-Hamilton’s view that “Scotland should really not exist as a nation at all”.

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Corri Wilson, Alba’s deputy general secretary, said: “It will be no surprise to any independence supporter that Alex Cole-Hamilton doesn’t support the right of the people of Scotland to determine their own future but the overwhelming majority of Scots will also reject his extraordinary view that Scotland should really not exist as a nation at all. 

“Scotland, of course, is an ancient nation with a proud history, but in the here and now it is the tired arguments of Unionists like Alex Cole-Hamilton that have resulted in the new Alba Party now being well ahead in membership of the Liberals who have been around for 150 years. 

“And it is our positive vision for the potential of this nation that will result in the Alba Party substantially outnumbering the LibDems in the Scottish Parliament after the next Holyrood election.”

A spokesperson for the LibDems said: "The nationalist idea of Scotland cut off and going it alone is outdated and economically illiterate.

"In a modern-day, global society, the SNP's separation agenda would starve us of investment, innovation and opportunity.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats want to see Scotland at the heart of the UK and at the heart of Europe."

The Liberal Democrat Voice blog reported after the debate that the Oxford Union backed Cole-Hamilton’s side and voted against supporting Scottish independence.