The National:

ENGLISH Scots for Yes and English-born SNP MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde Stuart McMillan respond to Tory accusations thrown at Nicola Sturgeon that her party is anti-English.

Stuart McMillan MSP, who was in the chamber when the comment was made:

I genuinely have not seen the First Minister look so shocked and upset by comments made to her in the chamber for some time, so I am pleased that Ms White has apologised for her comment.

On the surface, saying the SNP are anti-English may look like a tired old line thrown about by Tories, but we should not accept this as being OK or the norm. As a party, the SNP is not anti-English. I was born in England. I have family who stay in England. In fact, I would make a guess that most Scots have an English relative.

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Those of us in the SNP and indeed the wider Yes movement want Scotland to become independent, not because we are anti-English, but we are fundamentally opposed to a UK parliament that does not work for Scotland. Our opposition to Westminster and its policies should not be confused with anti-English sentiment. To make such a suggestion is just lazy, sound-bite politics from a party that seems to be anti-anyone who does not support them handing out multi-million pound contracts to their rich friends or supporting tax cuts for the wealthy.

The UK Government is about to remove the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit that supported many people during the pandemic. This is going to have a crippling effect on thousands of families. Another Tory myth, along with the SNP being anti-English, is that people on Universal Credit do not work. The majority do. Therefore, I issue a plea to people on both sides of the independence debate: let us move away from silly name-calling. Instead, let us debate independence on its merits, there are countless examples. That is how we will win.

The National:

English Scots for Yes, a pro-independence group of which McMillan is a member.

These comments from Tess White MSP are utterly disgraceful, and we welcome her apology – but as shocking as they are, sadly, they are not surprising. This is just the latest in a long history of remarks like this, making out that people who support independence are in some way anti-English. This is categorically untrue, as our group’s very existence demonstrates.

Quite frankly, we are sick and tired of English-born Scots being used as a pawn by Unionists attempting to stir up hatred between the English and Scottish. Independence is not about where you were born, but where we are going together as a country.

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For Tess White to make this appalling remark just as the First Minister was saying that our country must be welcoming to all in the wake of recent anti-Irish hatred was quite frankly outrageous.

Her apology is welcome but isn’t it time that we move beyond Unionists making unpalatable remarks and then apologizing for them later? The damage is already done.

These sorts of comments not only cheapen our civic debate but incite extremist voices who would stir up hate against politicians and activists from across the spectrum.

Whether Scotland should remain in the UK or become an independent country is a very serious debate, and the people of Scotland have a right to expect that their elected politicians put forward their case with honesty and integrity. We all have a duty to raise the tone and none more so than our MSPs, in whom the people have offered their trust.

Sadly, barely four months since being elected, Tess White has already broken that trust and plunged the debate into the gutter, with social-media already filling up with racist attacks and petty name-calling this afternoon.

We call on ALL Scots to rise above this nonsense.