Scottish Labour's deputy leader has criticised the First Minister after he defended sharing the front page of a newspaper describing Sir Keir Starmer, Rachel Reeves, Ed Miliband and Anas Sarwar as "traitors."

Dame Jackie Baillie accused Humza Yousaf of using "dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric."

Earlier in the day, the SNP leader said anyone upset by the Press and Journal's headline needed to take it up with the newspaper. 

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The criticism from the DC Thomson owned daily came after Labour announced details of their “proper windfall tax” which would see the party hike the government’s existing levy from 75 to 78% and extend it by a year to 2029.

It would also scrap the current investment allowance which sees oil and gas producers get 91p in tax relief for every £1 they invest.

Writing in the Press and Journal, Ryan Crighton, the policy director of the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, accused Labour of being “backstabbers".

He said: “Heading to Scotland to betray people in the pursuit of money and power has become very fashionable in 2024 thanks to the TV show The Traitors."

That comment prompted the paper's splash. 

Mr Yousaf shared the front page at the time and then again last week.

In recent days there has been a debate about toxicity in politics and the threat to politicians, triggered in part by the Speaker's decision to overturn Parliamentary procedure last week because of fears about the safety of MPs. 

Over the weekend, the Sunday Telegraph reported that Sir Lindsay Hoyle has written to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to seek more funding for the scheme to protect politicians by installing security measures at MPs’ homes and constituency offices.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reported that three female politicians, including representatives of the Conservative and Labour parties, have been given taxpayer-funded bodyguards.

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Asked during a campaign stop in Glasgow on Monday if he regretted sharing the front page, Mr Yousaf replied: "No, I thought it was a very important front page from the P&J. A very good front page from the P&J, because what it did, of course, it pointed at the fact that Labour has completely turned its back on the northeast.

He added: "Their plans would mean effectively 100,000 jobs in the Northeast being put at risk. I'll never apologise for standing up for the Northeast. And as I say, if you've got any issues with the front page of the P&J, you should probably ask the P&J about that."

Dame Jackie said: “Humza Yousaf’s doubling down on dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric demeans the role of First Minister and shows just how out of his depth he is.

“Rather than engaging in serious political debate, the First Minister has chosen to resort to desperate and dangerous insults at a time of increased political volatility.

“With public representatives across the country experiencing threats on a daily basis, the First Minister should know better than to play this dangerous political game.”