NHS Fife have excused a tweet made and deleted by the chair of its board, Tricia Marwick, that has been described as “unpleasant and divisive”.
Ms Marwick, who served as SNP MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife and Central Fife before becoming the Scottish Parliament’s presiding officer, sent an online communication to Spectator editor Fraser Nelson regarding his being a “Scotsman”.
It read: “We see you Fraser, we see what you are trying to do. Have never seen you challenge Westminster Governments. Scottish birth does not alone a Scotsman make, sometimes it signifies a Scotsman on the make.”
NHS Fife would not confirm on whether it had received any complaints about the text, only that it had been sent in a “personal capacity”.
The tweet was deleted shortly after it was posted.
The Scottish Lib Dem campaign chair, Alistair Carmichael, told the Herald: “The mask slips again. Underneath the veneer of ‘civic nationalism’ there remains an unpleasant and divisive politics.
“Wherever in the world and whenever in history it has been tried it always ends in division and exclusion.
“If the SNP take us back to another independence referendum, then we can expect a lot more of this.”
A spokesperson for NHS Fife said: “The tweet issued last night and subsequently deleted by Tricia Marwick was posted in a personal capacity on her own social media account.”
‘The ugly face of nationalism’
Scottish Conservative chief whip Miles Briggs said: “This was an appalling comment for this former SNP MSP and presiding officer to make, who should clearly have known better than to pander to the most extreme wing of her party.
“While she might have hastily deleted the post, it shows you don’t need to scratch much below the surface to see the ugly face of nationalism.
“There is no place for this sort of language in the political discourse in Scotland.”
Ms Marwick was re-elected chair of NHS Fife board in December 2020. She stepped down from her role as presiding officer in 2016, ahead of that year’s election.
Ms Marwick was unavailable for comment.