Theresa May has exposed the “repellent reality” of Conservative policy by setting out a “deeply ugly” vision of the UK post-Brexit, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
Scotland’s First Minister tore into proposals that could see businesses forced to reveal how many foreign workers they employ, describing them as “the most disgraceful display of reactionary right-wing politics in living memory”.
Her comments were echoed by Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale, who said the move, set out by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, was “xenophobic and vindictive”.
The proposals, part of a package of measures being considered by the UK Government to encourage companies to recruit local workers and reduce immigration, were also attacked as “racist” and “abhorrent” by MSPs in the Holyrood chamber.
Speaking after Mrs May’s closing speech to the UK Conservative party conference in Birmingham, Ms Sturgeon said: “It is an appalling, regressive, and hugely troubling development which will leave many people in Scotland - and across the rest of the UK and beyond - wondering, with real concern, what kind of country the Tories want us to be.
“The Prime Minister has claimed that she is seeking out the middle ground of politics - the repellent reality of the policies planned by her party could not be more different.
“Theresa May’s vision of Brexit Britain is a deeply ugly one - a country where people are judged not by their ability or their contribution to the common good, but by their birthplace or by their passport.
“It is a vision the Scottish Government wants no part of, and one which we will never subscribe to.
“Ours is a vision of an inclusive, tolerant and just society, and we will do everything in our power to shape Scotland in that way.”
Ms Dugdale said the conference would go down as “one of the most disgusting spectacles in recent political history”.
She said: “Just because Ukip has created a leadership vacancy, it does not mean that Theresa May should try to fill it. The Tories appear to be morphing into Ukip.
“The chilling suggestion that firms should be forced to reveal how many migrant workers they employ shows just how xenophobic and vindictive the modern Tory Party has become.
“Scottish Labour is clear - this is not the Britain we want to see.
“Ruth Davidson’s speech shows that she was clearly embarrassed by the comments from her colleagues, but was still prepared to be the warm-up act for Theresa May.
“She is the face of a Conservative Party that is rotten to its core - a xenophobic and toxic party.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie added: “Ruth Davidson should not be proud of the Conservatives, she should be ashamed of the damage she and her party are doing to our country.
“With the Brexit gamble, anti-foreigner policies, English nationalist rhetoric and right-wing agenda, the Conservatives are taking our country in a narrow, closed-minded and mean-spirited direction.”