JAMES O'Brien has said the Prime Minister “insulted anybody who entertains hopes of Scottish independence” after he mentioned Scottish nationalists in a speech about “extremist” threats facing the UK.

Speaking at an event in London organised by the Policy Exchange think tank, Sunak claimed that an “axis of authoritarian states” were attempting to undermine British values.

In a passage under the heading "The dangers," Sunak listed Russia, Iran, North Korea, antisemitism, "gender activists" and finally "Scottish nationalism" as posing threats to the UK. 

The Prime Minister has faced criticism for his comments, with the SNP’s deputy Westminster leader Mhairi Black branding it a “desperate attack on Scottish voters”.

Speaking on LBC, James O’Brien said: “He (Sunak) insulted anybody who entertains hopes of Scottish independence in the most extraordinary and unnecessary way.

“And remember these speeches are written days in advance. It’s not like this show, he doesn’t just turn up and start talking and then wonder sometimes what on earth he was thinking when he let that come out of his mouth.

“He has deliberately sought to alienate in I would argue a profoundly offensive fashion anybody who is currently drawn to the SNP.”

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The host added that he “genuinely don’t understand why” Sunak would take this approach, adding that this these speeches are “pored over by various aides and advisers”.

He continued: “They are delivered at, in this case, a secretly funded think tank would you believe and you think I exaggerate about these matters.

“But the question of how offensive it is, is the one that you answer by giving me a call to tell me what you felt when you heard Scottish nationalism being listed alongside Russia, Iran, North Korea, antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred.”

The National: Maggie Chapman

Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman (above) was also among those to hit out at the comments, labelling them “completely absurd”.

O’Brien added: “What is this designed to achieve? It can’t be accidental. It’s not off the cuff. It’s not something that happened because he didn’t realise his microphone was still on.

“It’s a deliberate attempt to somehow associate evil regimes in Russia, Iran, North Korea and elsewhere with Scottish nationalism.

“And the calculation must be that there is a constituency to whom this will appeal.”