THE Scottish Tories have responded with outrage after Humza Yousaf branded the Westminster government “foreign” during a debate.

The Health Secretary coined the phrase during a tense clash over gender reforms during the final SNP leadership debate on Times Radio.

Yousaf said he would send Holyrood lawyers to court if he becomes first minister to try and overturn a Section 35 block on the Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) Bill.

Kate Forbes said she would only go to court if there was no alternative adding: “If we are a party that wants to be independent, we need to be able to resolve our challenges ourselves.”

Yousaf then said: “If we were independent, we would not have a foreign government, for example, coming in and vetoing our legislation."

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf to try attend both coronation and Yes rally on May 6

Since Yousaf made the comment, the Tories have also written to Yousaf urging him to drop the “inflammatory and polarising language” and govern for the whole of Scotland if he becomes first minister.

Tory MSP Sharon Dowey said: “Humza Yousaf needs to drop this inflammatory and polarising language now.

“To refer to the UK Government as ‘a foreign government’ is plain wrong: Scotland has two governments, and he knows this.

“By choosing to use this divisive rhetoric he is sending a dog whistle to extreme Nationalists and showing contempt to the majority of the population who support Scotland’s place in the Union.

“Scotland doesn’t need or want a ‘First Activist’, it requires a First Minister who will heal the divisions that have blighted Scotland ever since 2014.”

Scottish Tories have also slammed him on social media, with MP Andrew Bowie branding him “idiotic”.

Bowie tweeted: “I'm a Scot. I represent a Scottish constituency. I am also a minister in the UK Government.

“I'd like to ask Humza how that's possible if it is a "foreign" government?

“Crass. Offensive. Idiotic. Playing to the base. This is the *best* the SNP have to offer.”

Tory MSP Stephen Kerr meanwhile said the comment from Yousaf made it look like he was scared of losing the race.

He said: “This smells of Humza thinking he's losing the leadership race, and playing to the lowest denominator to attract a few more SNP members' votes.”

Another Tory MSP, Tess White, added: “Humza Yousaf's 'foreign government' comment says it all. Just another SNP politician pandering to the Nationalist base and ignoring the priorities of the Scottish people.”

Roz McCall said there was nothing foreign about "our friends” in the rest of the UK.

She tweeted: “Having lived outside of Scotland for a short period of my life, I can tell Humza there is nothing foreign about our friends and neighbours in the rest of the United Kingdom.”

The National:

During the debate, Yousaf did add that he would drop his legal challenge to the blocking of the GRR Bill if he is advised that the Scottish Government would lose.

Forbes previously said she would have voted against the bill if she had not been on maternity leave, but went on to say she agrees with reforming the Gender Recognition Act.

Ash Regan, one of the gender bill’s fiercest critics in government, said that any court challenge would fail.

During the debate, she said: “I don’t think that shows us standing up to the UK Government. I think that is something that you want to do for things where you have the public behind you.”