A RISHI Sunak speech in which he mentioned “Scottish nationalists” as one of a number of “extremist” threats facing the UK has been branded “completely absurd".

Speaking at an event in London organised by the Policy Exchange think tank, the Prime Minister claimed that "an axis of authoritarian states" were attempting to undermine British values – listing Russia, Iran, North Korea, antisemitism, "gender activists", and finally "Scottish nationalists".

He said: “From gender activists hijacking children’s sex education, to cancel culture, vocal and aggressive fringe groups are trying to impose their views on the rest of us.

"They’re trying to make it morally unacceptable to believe something different and undermine people’s confidence and pride in our own history and identity.

“Scottish nationalists are even trying to tear our United Kingdom apart.”

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Commenting on Sunak's speech, Mhairi Black branded it a "desperate attack on Scottish voters".

The SNP's depute leader at Westminster said: "Independence is supported by half of Scotland's population – and Rishi Sunak's desperate attack on Scottish voters will only encourage more people to reject the Tories and vote SNP."

She added that the "real extremists" are the Tory party who have "trashed the economy, imposed deep cuts to public services and dragged Scotland out of the EU against our will".

"And the best way to beat the Tories in Scotland is to vote SNP at the General Election – to stand up for Scotland's values and advance Scotland's journey to independence."

Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman also hit back at the comments, telling The National: "This is completely absurd, particularly coming from a Prime Minister who has knowingly whipped up cynical culture wars, played divide and rule against marginalised communities and completely ignored international law in a bid to deport some of the world's most vulnerable people to Rwanda.”

She said that the “reactionary and divisive form of British nationalism” that the Tory party engages in has fuelled “racist attacks on asylum seekers and refugees, boosted the far right and proved a backdrop for the shameful and punishing hostile environment policies they have presided over”.

The National: Scottish Green Party's Maggie Chapman makes a speech after being returned a MSP for the North East Region inthe Scottish Parliamentary Elections at the P&J Live/TECA, Aberdeen. Picture date: Saturday May 8, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS

"One of the main reasons why so many of us support Scottish independence is precisely because it would allow us to make our own choices and would see an end to cruel, incompetent and increasingly extreme Tory governments that Scotland did not vote for," Chapman (above) added.

Alba party general secretary Chris McEleny, meanwhile, said that Sunak will “say anything to remain relevant”.

“The reality is he’s a lame duck Prime Minister that will be out of office after the General Election unless something extreme happens. He knows this, his back benches know this and the dogs in the street know it,” he said.

“However, if Rishi Sunak thinks that Scottish nationalists pose a threat to the UK - then he is right. If independence supporters back Alba party’s plan to seek an independence mandate at each and every election then Scotland can ensure that Westminster can no longer seize Scotland’s assets to bail out its policies of folly.”