Liam Fox: Scottish independence campaign has allowed xenophobia to come to the fore

Video: The Conservative MP told London Live "nationalism can be a very destructive element"

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The Independent Online

The former defence secretary, Dr Liam Fox, has said that the movement for Scottish independence has allowed xenophobia to come to the forefront of the political debate.

Fox, who was born in East Kilbride and studied medicine at Glasgow University, told London Live that he was sure the "No" vote would prevail in next week's referendum but that he was worried about the fallout following the important vote.

"I think that irrespective of what the result is, there will be a lot of acrimony, there will be a lot of questions being asked on both sides after the campaign and I think it’s an example to us that while patriotism is a good thing, nationalism can be a very destructive element," he said.

Fox then argued that "this campaign has almost given licence to some of those who are pretty xenophobic to be able to come to the fore and feel free to express their views".

The MP for North Somerset said that the xenophobia seeping through the nationalist campaign was a "great pity" because the United Kingdom was a "union of people".

"It’s very hard to find people who don’t have grandparents or great grandparents from a different part of the UK," he continued. "It’s very hard to find families who don’t have other members working in a different part of the UK.

"Now how sad would it be if we were poisoned by some of those attitudes that have very, very sadly been allowed to come to fore during the referendum campaign?"

Fox's words mirror those of BBC presenter Andrew Marr, who told the Edinburgh International Book Festival that anti-English feeling was incredibly toxic in Scotland and that he was worried about the language being used in the independence debate.

Commenting on recent polls, Fox told London Live that the "No" vote had consistently stood at around 53 and 54 percent for the past year, while the "Yes" vote had fluctuated greatly.

"I think the stability of the 'No' vote is going to result in a 'No' vote next week," he said.

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