ACTRESS Frances Barber has sparked outrage after talking of 'civil war' and comparing the SNP to Nazis, claiming they "loathe the English with a passion only reminiscent of the third Reich".

The Shakespearean actress, who signed an open letter backing the union ahead of last year's referendum, made the comments on Twitter on election night.

She wrote: "God help us all is all I can say when the racist SNP try to take over. England will react we will have civil war."

She later added: "They loathe The English with a passion only reminiscent of the 3rd reich."

Her comments sparked a furious response from Twitter users. One wrote: "What utter nonsense, a comment so sweepingly inaccurate that it is racist in itself. You know better, Frances."

Other comments included: "The most poisonous comment I have heard yet, so far away from the truth. You should be ashamed" and "Did you actually just compare the SNP to Hitler? Congratulations on becoming a parody of yourself."

One Twitter user decided some sarcastic humour was the best way to respond: "Aye lassie! Watch oot! We're coming doon to make you wear kilts, eat haggis and play the bagpipes. Och aye the noo!!"

Barber, who has appeared in a number of television programmes including Dr Who and the BBC drama Silk, appeared to try to justify her comments when she thanked a supporter and said: "I have had two years of non-stop SNP utter abuse so am a bit touchy."

Last year she was one of 200 individuals from the worlds of sport, film, music and television who signed an open letter urging Scotland "let's stay together". It was backed by famous names including Sir Mick Jagger, Dame Judi Dench and Sir David Attenborough.