A TORY MSP has accused Humza Yousaf of “overreaction” in response to an article the First Minister described as “Islamophobic”.

Conservative MSP Stephen Kerr said he would “not be apologising for doing my job” when grilled about a comment he gave to The Telegraph questioning Yousaf’s “motivations” for redirecting funds to the UN’s Palestinian aid organisation.

Challenged about his comments on the Sunday Show, Kerr, who sits on Holyrood’s standards committee, refused to walk back on his comments.

Host Martin Geissler said the First Minister had described the story as being “borderline racist and Islamophobic”.

He said: “There was an article in The Telegraph, on the front page of The Telegraph about the First Minister yesterday that the Scottish Government and the First Minister has described as borderline racist and Islamophobic – well they have.

READ MORE: 'So outrageous': Humza Yousaf responds to 'smear' over UN funding

“You’re the person who’s quoted in it. You said, ‘Humza Yousaf has a clear conflict of interest in the awarding of aid to Gaza because so many of his family members are either living there or involved in Palestinian organisations. There are questions about what his motivations are for using taxpayers’ money in that area.’

“Given your time again would you retract that, would you would you have softened that quote, or do you stand by that? It’s an extraordinary thing to say. What questions are there about his motivations?”

The National:

Kerr (above) replied that there were “questions about how it came about that £200,000 that had been allocated to Unicef for a water project was, overnight on one email, pivoted and redirected” to Unrwa, which Israel has alleged has links to the Hamas attacks on October 7.

The UK Government has suspended payments to the organisation in response to Israel’s claims. Kerr added that he wanted to know “what exactly happened and why was that decision made”.

But Geissler replied: “Would you ask that of Rishi Sunak or is the fact that the First Minister’s a Muslim at the crux of this?”

Kerr said: “It is the responsibility of a member of parliament, whether at Westminster or Holyrood to scrutinise the operation of government and to hold the government to account. There is nothing unusual in asking questions about how decisions were made and why they were made.

READ MORE: Islamophobia in Conservative Party must be investigated, Humza Yousaf says

“And the reaction of the First Minister I felt was an overreaction.”

He added: “The whole reason we have a ministerial code that protects ministers on issues of conflicts of interests is exactly the issue that I’m raising.”

Asked again whether he regretted his choice of words, Kerr said: “I do not regret doing my job as a parliamentarian in scrutinising the work of the Scottish Government, including the work of the First Minister.

“That is why we have parliamentarians and that is my job and I will continue doing it. I will not be apologising for doing my job.”