England fans will not be welcome abroad if the “undertow of racism” linked to their hooligans is not dealt with, an SNP MP has claimed.
Joanna Cherry insisted Scotland has “world class” fans who know how to behave themselves, adding the country has been able to deal with the serious hooliganism of the 1970s.
But the SNP’s justice and home affairs spokeswoman voiced concerns over the “appalling” behaviour of some English fans, while also praising those from Northern Ireland and Wales.
Home Secretary Theresa May criticised Ms Cherry for the “unfortunate” tone of her comments in the Commons.
Speaking as MPs debated the trouble involving Russian and England supporters at Euro 2016 in France, Ms Cherry told Mrs May: “In the 1970s we had a serious problem with football hooliganism in Scotland.
“They managed to address it and now the Tartan Army wins awards for their good behaviour and charitable work.
“Scotland might not have a world class team yet, but we do have world class fans who know how to behave themselves, and it appears so do the Welsh and Northern Irish.
“My point is that the problem of recurring football hooliganism is not insoluble.
“But what’s most worrying about it is that there is an undertow of racism to this football hooliganism and if it’s allowed to continue unchecked then English fans won’t be welcome abroad.
“So what’s being done to address this undertow of racism?”
Ms Cherry also noted a senior politician in Marseille, the French city where violence involving Russian and England supporters flared, has demanded the UK pays towards the costs of the clean-up operation.
Scotland might not have a world class team yet, but we do have world class fans who know how to behave themselves, and it appears so do the Welsh and Northern Irish.
She asked Mrs May: “What steps will you take to ensure that these costs fall on fans responsible and not on the British taxpayer?”
Mrs May replied: “I have to say to you that I think the tone of the remarks you made is somewhat unfortunate.
“Yes, there were England supporters… who were involved in this violence and, as I indicated in my response to the urgent question just now, nine England supporters have been arrested and action is being taken by the French criminal justice system and those people will be considered for banning orders when they return to the United Kingdom.
“Football hooliganism can erupt anywhere with any group of fans.
“We have experience here in the UK of dealing with football hooliganism in the past, we have arrangements in place – such as the banning orders – which do work well, but we are ever-vigilant in this matter and will take the steps necessary to ensure we can protect the law-abiding fans who wish to enjoy football.”
Labour MP David Anderson (Blaydon) said: “Can I just gently remind our friends from Scotland, before they get too carried away, that there was a riot at the end of the Scottish Cup final on May 21?”