The Scottish Tories are demanding an apology from an SNP MP after she described a performance in which Ruth Davidson was branded "dykey" as "hilarious".

Joanna Cherry came under fire after she tweeted her enjoyment of the "hilariously irreverent satire" from the comedy group Witsherface at the relaunch of the convention in Glasgow, two years on from the independence referendum.

In a spoof rap battle at a Scottish independence convention event, openly gay Ms Davidson was referred to as "Ruth 'Dykey' D" by one of the female performers.

The Herald:

Joanna Cherry

Ms Cherry, SNP MP for Edinburgh South and SNP justice spokeswoman, prompted an angry reaction on social media after she tweeted: "Hilariously irreverent satire from brilliant #Witsherface still laughing".

Equalities campaigners at Stonewall Scotland said afterwards: "We must always challenge homophobic language - not doing so makes it acceptable for others to use it too."

Colin McFarlane, director of the LGBT charity, said: "Calling someone a 'dyke' is homophobic. If it goes unchallenged it gives the green light for others to follow suit."

READ MORE: Carmichael claims Sturgeon's real goal in Brexit process is Scottish independence

Ms Cherry tweeted afterwards: "It's a shame if anyone was offended today. I wasn't but as an out lesbian & long term supporter of #LGBT rights I obvs condemn homophobia."

Conservative equalities spokeswoman Annie Wells called on the MP to "reassess" her promotion of the act and "apologise to Ruth Davidson for the direct attack on her sexuality".

Ms Wells cited research by Stonewall as showing a third of people surveyed had reported hearing "hateful and abusive language aimed at LGBT people" in the prior month,

READ MORE: Theresa May criticises Nicola Sturgeon over independence

In a letter to Ms Cherry, the Tory MSP said: "The prevalence of such hate speech is one of the reasons Stonewall launched its No Bystanders campaign, asking people to stand up to homophobic language when they hear it. Nicola Sturgeon is a signatory to the campaign."

Scottish Labour called on the First Minister to distance herself from Ms Cherry's comments.

A party spokesman said: "It is important for politicians to challenge language like this, otherwise people will believe that such behaviour is acceptable.

"There can be no place in Scotland for intolerance, be it homophobic or in any other form.

"Tackling homophobia remains a major challenge, with a 20% increase in 2015-16 in charges reported with an aggravation of prejudice relating to sexual orientation.

READ MORE: Carmichael claims Sturgeon's real goal in Brexit process is Scottish independence

"It is therefore extremely disappointing that one SNP MP has tried to defend this performance. The SNP leadership should distance itself from Joanna Cherry's comments."

Caron Lindsay, the Liberal Democrat social security spokeswoman in Scotland, said: "There is plenty to criticise Ruth Davidson for without having to resort to cheap slurs regarding her sexuality. This is the sort of language you might have expected to hear in the 70s or 80s, not today.

"Scotland has taken huge steps towards equality in recent years and this was an unwelcome blast from the past. An apology would be in order."

A spokesman for the SNP stated: "We condemn any form of homophobia - this was not an SNP event."

In her response to the Tory, Ms Cherry said: "I am an openly-gay woman myself and I have spent my life campaigning for LGBTI rights - often against governments and politicians that were determined to hold back our equality.

"I came out at a time when to do so risked damaging my career and I have myself been the victim of homophobic assaults - so I am all too aware of the need to condemn and challenge homophobia whenever and wherever it arises.

"I saw yesterday's performance as a lesbian woman watching a satirical comedy sketch written by lesbian women and performed by lesbian women, which mocked representatives of all political parties, including the SNP. In that context, I did not believe it was intended to be offensive but I do understand why some find it to be.

"Language is important - particularly when we are all still working hard to change social attitudes towards LGBTI people.

"While some people, including myself, have reclaimed the term and now use it proudly - I understand others are not comfortable with it and while the event and performance were not organised by me or the SNP, I regret the offence that was caused."