JEREMY Vine has been condemned for his comments on Scottish independence – which saw him suggest that someone who spoke about the topic on the job should be fired – by the person whose landmark court battle saw that very act ruled unlawful.

Chris McEleny, now the general secretary of the Alba party, won a legal battle against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) after alleging that he had been suspended from his role with the government department after announcing a bid to run for depute leader of the SNP back in 2016.

McEleny, at the time an electrician for the MoD, then alleged he had been questioned by a security vetting team on his suitability for clearance, which had been revoked.

A 2018 Employment Tribunal ruled, and the next year reaffirmed, that his belief in Scottish independence could be considered a philosophical belief for the purposes of protection from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

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The 2019 reaffirmation confirmed that it would be unlawful to dismiss someone from their job on the basis of a belief in Scottish independence.

However, broadcaster Jeremy Vine sparked controversy on Thursday when he suggested that a boss may fire someone on those grounds.

During a segment on his Channel 5 show talking about political talk in the workplace, Vine said: “An example of it would be where I think if you’re a boss you might object is if you were in Scotland and you’ve got somebody who wants to talk about Scottish independence and we know that’s very divisive.

“That’s going to really set the cat among the pigeons and so you might want to take them on one side and say look, for or against doesn’t matter, just put a sock in it when you’re working here or you’re fired.”

McEleny said Vine should “reflect” on his comments.

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The Alba secretary said: “It’s no surprise that TV hosts will say controversial things to get attention, and in that regard Mr Vine is no different or worse than anyone else.

“However, he should reflect that there should be a line drawn at promoting unlawful discrimination against people across Scotland that believe in our right to self determination.

“Many people faced discrimination in the workplace back in 2014, making them scared to support independence publicly in case it would jeopardise their livelihoods.

“Thanks to the 2019 decision this is no longer the case and employers should take note of this.”