London mayor: Scottish nationalists are not racists

Sadiq Khan's speech to Scottish Labour's conference has been called 'ill-judged'.

The mayor of London says he was not meaning to say "nationalists are somehow racists" after he said there was "no difference" between them in a speech at the Scottish Labour conference.

In a change to an earlier version of his speech, Sadiq Khan told conference delegates that "of course I'm not saying that nationalists are somehow racists or bigoted".

A draft of his speech was made public by the mayor before his appearance on stage the Perth Concert Hall.

He told conference delegates: "I felt it was important for me to come here to Perth today, as the mayor of London, to tell you just how much I love Scotland and the whole of the UK.

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"Because there are some in Scotland who try to define London as your enemy."

He added: "There is no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis whether we are English or Scottish, and those who divide us on the basisi of our background, race or religion.

"Now, of course I am not saying nationalists are somehow racists or bigoted but now more than ever what we do not need is more division and separation."

Race row: Sadiq Khan has said there is 'no difference' between dividing Scots and English and racism. Stefan Rousseau / PA Wire

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, who was introduced to the conference by Khan, called his speech "powerful" and thanked him for it.

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His comments, however, have been widely criticised by SNP politicians, including the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

In a series of tweets, Sturgeon said: "I'm a big admirer of Sadiq Khan but today's intervention is spectacularly ill-judged.

"It is an insult to all those Scots who support independence for reasons of inclusion and social justice - the antithesis of what he says."

She continued: "It is a sheer desperation and moral bankruptcy that has driven so many from Scottish Labour's ranks. Very disappointing."

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