Theresa May blasts ‘appalling’ SNP over M&S British products row

Posted On: 
23rd May 2018

Theresa May has blasted the SNP after the party was accused of trying to “bully” retailer Marks & Spencer into removing the term ‘British’ and the Union Flag from its products in Scotland.

Theresa May lashed out at the SNP today over suggestions the party had 'bullied' retailer Marks & Spencer

The Prime Minister said any attempts to pressure the firm into changing its packaging were “frankly appalling” and flew in the face of the 2014 independence referendum, when Scottish voters chose to remain part of the UK.

The remarks came after Tory backbencher Luke Graham urged Mrs May to “support companies that are proud of Scottish and British produce,” during Prime Minister’s Questions today.    

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The Ochil and South Perthshire MP, who is a former employee at the iconic firm, claimed the SNP administration in Holyrood had “bullied Marks & Spencer over the use of the word British and the Union flag”.

The SNP faced criticism last week when it emerged a Holyrood official had questioned the retailer over its labelling of some products - including Scottish whiskey and gin - as British.

In further unearthed documents it was revealed that Nicola Sturgeon had come under pressure from within her party to prevent Marks & Spencer from branding products with the Union Flag rather than the Saltire.

Today Mrs May said: “We should all be proud of Scottish and British produce – or produce from any part of the United Kingdom, and I think it is frankly appalling that the Scottish government don’t want to see the Union Flag and the word 'British' on produce.

“And not only is it appalling but it failed to reflect the vote that took place in Scotland that showed that people in Scotland want to stay part of the United Kingdom.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said last week: “We appreciate the commitment that M&S and many other major retailers make to Scottish high-quality food and drink.

“These documents show we raised concerns with the company in a constructive manner.

“Scotland’s food and drink sector is a huge international success story and it’s vital it’s promoted appropriately.”