SCOTLAND’S First Minister has called on Rishi Sunak to apologise for his “foolish remarks” in which he included “Scottish nationalists” in a speech on extremism.

Speaking at an event earlier this week, the Prime Minister made what Swinney called “poorly judged” remarks as Sunak said an “axis of authoritarian states” were attempting to undermine British values.

The claims have been met with fierce criticism, including from the SNP’s Mhairi Black, although Scottish Tory Douglas Ross defended them in a BBC interview on Wednesday morning.

Speaking to LBC, Swinney said: “I think the Prime Minister’s reference was poorly judged, very poorly judged.

“I don’t think it helps to assist civilised, reasonable debate in our society. There’s just absolutely no relationship between all of these different classifications that he linked Scottish nationalists to.”

In a passage on threats facing the UK, Sunak listed Russia, North Korea, Iran, “gender activists,” antisemitism and “Scottish nationalism” as posing a danger to the UK.

READ MORE: Shona Craven: When Rishi Sunak refers to ‘us’, Scottish voters are ‘them’

Swinney continued: “I want to make sure we have respectful debate. I’m fed up with disrespectful debate in our politics and I think the Prime Minister’s contribution slotted in directly to disrespectful debate.

“I think he should apologise, I think he should withdraw his remarks, I think they’re foolish remarks and they don’t help having reasoned debate in our society.”

Speaking to the BBC, the Scottish Tory leader was also asked about the comments and he claimed that “I don’t think anyone would believe that a party that wants to tear up the United Kingdom, end the United Kingdom by removing Scotland from it is anything but a threat to the United Kingdom”.

“The SNP get up every morning to tear Scotland out of the UK,” Ross added.

The National also previously told how an expert debunked Sunak’s branding of the Scottish independence movement as “extremist”.