Nicola Sturgeon is accused of “dangerous” rhetoric by Nadhim Zahawi but SNP politicians defend her.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of using divisive rhetoric after she said “I detest the Tories” in a BBC interview.
She made the comment on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg when asked if she would prefer a Labour or a Tory prime minister.
Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi called her language “dangerous”.
But some SNP politicians have defended her remarks as they gathered for their party conference.
Addressing whether she would prefer a Labour or Tory government, Ms Sturgeon said: “I detest the Tories and everything they stand for so it’s not difficult to answer that question.”
Mr Zahawi – the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – told the programme: “I think that language is really dangerous.”
He said he preferred to work with his colleagues in Scotland on delivering projects.
At the party’s conference, senior SNP politicians have attacked the Conservative government and its policies in speeches.
Some Conservative politicians have now criticised Ms Sturgeon, accusing her of stoking divisions for political ends in Scotland.
In a tweet, former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, said the comment was “clearly a rhetoric-raising strategy” ahead of her speech to the SNP conference on Monday.
Conservative MP Andrew Bowie also tweeted to suggest the language was no way to win over voters who voted against Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum.
While Ms Sturgeon said she would favour a Labour government to a Tory government, she told Laura Kuenssberg: “Being better than the Tories is not a high bar to cross right now.
“I think we need to see more of a radical alternative from Labour rather than just a pale imitation.
“If you’re asking me do I think either a Westminster Tory government or a Westminster Labour government are good enough for Scotland, then my answer to that is no.”