Douglas Ross has defended the Prime Minister for including Scottish independence supporters in a list of extremists that pose a threat to the UK.

The Scottish Conservative leader said that given the SNP wants to “tear up the United Kingdom”, then they are “a threat to the United Kingdom.”

On Monday, Rishi Sunak warned of an “axis of authoritarian powers” seeking to undermine Britain.

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These included China, Russia, Iran and North Korea and other “extremists [who] are also exploiting these global conflicts to divide us”.

He said: “People are abusing our liberal democratic values — the freedom of speech and right of protest — to intimidate, threaten and assault others, to sing antisemitic chants on our streets and our university campuses, and to weaponise the evils of antisemitism or anti-Muslim hatred in a divisive, ideological attempt to set Briton against Briton.

“And from gender activists hijacking children’s sex education to cancel culture, vocal and aggressive fringe groups are trying to impose their views on the rest of us.

“They’re trying to make it morally unacceptable to believe something different and undermine people’s confidence and pride in our own history and identity. Scottish nationalists are even trying to tear our United Kingdom apart.”

The SNP were furious at Mr Sunak’s comments. Stephen Flynn, the party’s leader at Westminster, said the Prime Minister “demeans himself by making such a puerile comparison”.

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During an interview with the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Mr Ross was asked if Mr Sunak had consulted him before “he declared almost half of Scots voters extremists”.

The Scottish Tory leader replied: “Well what Rishi Sunak was discussing in his speech on Monday was threats to the United Kingdom and this was a wide-ranging speech on a number of threats.

“And I don’t think anyone would believe that a party that wants to tear up the United Kingdom, end the United Kingdom by removing Scotland from it is anything but a threat to the United Kingdom.”

When he was asked why Mr Sunak had put Scottish nationalists alongside Iran and North Korea, Mr Ross said: “Well, if you listen to the entire speech by the Prime Minister, he was going through a range of issues and on threats to the United Kingdom, the future of the United Kingdom is under threat from a party that wants to destroy the United Kingdom,” he said.

“The SNP get up every morning to tear Scotland out of the UK.

"I want Scotland to remain a strong, integral part of the United Kingdom and that’s why I will never support their plans for separation, sadly plans that are still at the forefront of the thinking of the new Scottish Government led by John Swinney.”

The SNP has been approached for comment.