RISHI Sunak called the SNP “a threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom” as he refused to apologise for comparing Yessers with extremists and dictators.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn demanded the Prime Minister say sorry for the comments – which he said were equivalent to comparing “almost half the of the Scottish population with a war criminal like Vladimir Putin”.

It comes after a speech from the Prime Minister on Monday, in which he said: “Scottish nationalists are even trying to tear our United Kingdom apart.”

His comments have been met with outrage from the SNP and the argument over the remarks continued in the Commons.

At PMQs on Wednesday, Sunak doubled down and said it was “literally [the SNP’s] entire purpose” to break up the UK.

Flynn said: “On Monday the Prime Minister outlined what he considers to be extremist threats to our society and in doing so he actively compared North Korea, Iran and Russia with those people in Scotland who believe in independence.

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“So can I ask him to rise once to the standards befitting of his office and apologise for those puerile and pathetic remarks?”

Sunak said: “That’s not what I said. But I would say to [Flynn] that his party is indeed a threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom and I hate to remind him but that’s literally their entire purpose. Because when the people of Scotland accepted the referendum in 2014, it was the SNP who didn’t.”

He slammed the SNP for “creating a minister for independence” and “ignoring the needs of the people” in favour of “constitutional wrangling.

Sunak added: “Education standards falling, taxes rising. So actually, finally he should do the right thing and end the obsession with independence and put the needs of the Scottish people first.”

Flynn hit back, saying the PM “did was not just equate my colleagues and I to despotic and dangerous despots across the world” but had “proactively compared almost half the of the Scottish population with a war criminal like Vladimir Putin”.

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He added: “And he did so as their Prime Minister, as the man who represents them on the world stage and the man who on these isles is tasked with defending their liberties and their democracy.

“Now we know that his sorry time in office is rapidly coming to a conclusion is this really how he wants to be remembered?”

Sunak replied: “As ever, distracting from the actual record of what the SNP are doing in Scotland and this obsession with independence means that Scottish schoolchildren are being let down, plummeting down international league tables.

“The Scottish NHS is the only place in the UK where funding is actually falling in real terms and taxes going up for ordinary hardworking families and small businesses. That is what the SNP are doing in Scotland while this UK Government is delivering for them.”

Meanwhile Keir Starmer skewered the PM on “minister for common sense” Esther McVey’s war on civil servants wearing LBGT lanyards and criticised the Government’s scheme to let prisoners out early.

He said: "On Monday the Prime Minister treated us to his seventh relaunch in 18 months, he vowed to take on the dangers that threaten the country. So it was good to see the minister for common sense (Esther McVey) immediately take up that mantle by announcing a vital crackdown on the gravest of threats, colourful lanyards.

“Meanwhile, in the real world, after 14 years of Tory Government, the prison system is in chaos. Does the Prime Minister think that his decision to let prisoners out 70 days early, makes our country more secure?”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak replied: “Civil service impartiality is an important principle that we’re right to support, perhaps he could ask his chief of staff [Sue Gray, a former senior civil servant] about that?”

He added: “Actually on Monday, what I did do is outline the serious security threats that our country faces from an axis of authoritarian states – Russia poisoning people on our streets, China targeting our democracy, Iranian proxies firing on British ships.

“And yet, he won’t back our plan to increase defence spending.

“Now, we all know why, especially with the deputy leader [Angela Rayner] and indeed the shadow foreign secretary [David Lammy] who voted to scrap our nuclear deterrent, it’s clear that you simply can’t trust Labour with our country’s security.”