Ian Blackford has apologised after accusing a photographer of breaching coronavirus regulations.

The SNP Westminster leader retweeted a post from photographer Ollie Taylor last night, demanding the “valid reason” for him posting images from the north of Scotland since travelling from the south of England is not currently permitted.

He wrote: “As you live in the south of England and travel to Scotland is only for permitted reasons I am sure there will be a valid reason as to why you are posting a photo from the north of Scotland last night?"

However, Mr Blackford came under intense fire after Twitter users pointed out that the MP had no way of knowing where Mr Taylor lives.

It since emerged that Mr Taylor had recently moved to the Highlands from the South of England.

He accused Mr Blackford of “trying to stir up public hatred” against him.

Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has accused Mr Blackford of “bullying” the photographer “because he thinks he’s English.”

Mr Rennie said: “Ian Blackford should apologise immediately this blundering tweet which accused a private citizen of breaking the travel restrictions when he had no evidence of him doing so.

“Blackford, a senior politician, has picked on him and bullied him because he thinks he's English. “Other people on Twitter have shown that Blackford is wrong to accuse this private citizen. It is time for him to apologise.

“Ian Blackford has form for his remarks about people from England who happen to be in Scotland. This behaviour could only add to the problems of anti English sentiment in Scotland. I have warned that this must be condemned but Ian Blackford is only making it worse. He should apologise without delay.”

The MP has since removed the tweet and apologised.

Posting his apology on Twitter, he said: “As the local MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber I know my constituents feel very strongly about the breaking of travel restrictions that we see across the Highlands and islands, which puts people’s lives and our public services at risk.

“I will continue to stand up for my constituents who frequently raise these concerns with me but I recognise that it was wrong to query an individual on Twitter and I apologise to @OllieTPhoto for my earlier post, which I have deleted.”

Another photographer, posted from an account named “Skye Photography”, responded to Mr Blackford’s apology to “point out” that the UK Government has been “more supportive of our industry than the Scottish Government” in their eyes, accusing the MP of failing to “stand up” for the industry.

They said: “Ian, as a photographer in your constituency I can point out that The UK Govt has been more supportive of our industry than the Scottish Govt.

"We have received aid from Westminster but none from Holyrood as we have pointed out to you before & you have yet to stand up for us.”