A Conservative MP has been urged to apologise and is facing criticism from her own party after claiming Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard’s accent is the reason why the Labour Party “isn’t doing well in Scotland”.
Dehenna Davison, who represents Bishop Auckland, tweeted “Watching @SophyRidgeSky and she is discussing why the Labour Party isn’t doing well in Scotland.
“I think I’ve got to the bottom of it… The Scottish Labour Leader… has a broad Lancashire accent [facepalm emoji]'”.
Richard Leonard responded to point out he is from Yorkshire and stressed that Scotland is his home.
He tweeted: “I came to study (at Stirling Uni) four decades ago.
“Scotland has been my home ever since. And it’s a broad Yorkshire accent, as it happens!”
SNP MP Hannah Bardell said: “Tory MP Dehenna Davison should apologise for this ill-judged tweet, which says far more about backwards Tory attitudes than it does about Scotland, which is a welcoming country.
“Place of birth appears to be an obsession for the Tories with their hostile migration policies – but Scotland has been built on people of all backgrounds making our country their home, and it is all the better for it.
“Labour’s ailing fortunes have precisely nothing to do with Richard Leonard’s accent and absolutely everything to do with their decision to side with the Tories on imposing Brexit against Scotland’s will and denying the people of Scotland a choice over our future.”
Conservative MSPs also took aim at Ms Davison’s remark, with Dean Lockhart saying Mr Leonard’s accent is “irrelevant”.
Mr Lockhart tweeted: “In fairness, Richard Leonard’s accent is irrelevant.
“What is relevant is that he leads a party in a poor third position in Scottish politics and has continued to fail to stand up to the SNP in their relentless push for separation.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives said: “This criticism is unacceptable.
“It plays into the kind of divisive politics that the SNP promote.”