ALEX Salmond has hit back at Rishi Sunak's “outrageous” claim that Scottish nationalists are extremists, saying “nobody has had so much as a nosebleed arguing for or against Scottish independence”.

As a panelist last night on BBC Question Time, the leader of the Alba Party said that after reading the Prime Minister’s full speech he believed his comments comparing Scottish nationalists to extremists were deliberate and not off the cuff.

The leader of the Tories, Sunak, mentioned Scottish nationalists in a major speech about the "extremist" threats facing the UK and has since refused to apologise, despite a huge backlash from independence supporters.

The former first minister of Scotland, Salmond, argued the fact that the campaign for Scottish independence has been democratic and peaceful over the decades and that it is an “incredibly valuable thing” to achieve.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak REFUSES to apologise for 'comparing Yessers with Putin'

He said: “I heard this extremist remark by Rishi Sunak and I thought that’s just a drowning Prime Minister thrashing about, pay no attention.

“But actually, now I’ve read the full speech, this was a deliberate, this wasn’t an off-the-cuff silly remark, and I’ll tell you why it is so important, the real democratic point here.

“Scottish nationalism in its modern form has been around for a 100 years and as a representative force in parliament for 50 years.

“In that century not a single person has lost their life arguing for or against Scottish independence. Nobody has had so much as a nosebleed arguing for or against Scottish independence.

“It has been civic, and it has been democratic it has been embraced whether in victory or defeat.

“That is an incredibly valuable thing.

“How dare Rishi Sunak describe people pursuing national self-determination as extremists. It is outrageous.”

Just days before Salmon’s comments on BBC Question Time SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn demanded the Prime Minister say sorry for his comparison of Yessers with North Korea, Iran, and Russia.

However, Sunak doubled down on his remarks as he said: “That’s not what I said.

“But I would say to [Flynn] that his party is indeed a threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom and I hate to remind him but that’s literally their entire purpose.

“Because when the people of Scotland accepted the referendum in 2014, it was the SNP who didn’t.”

But, Flynn hit back, saying what Sunak “did was not just equate my colleagues and I to despotic and dangerous despots across the world” but “proactively compare almost half of the Scottish population with a war criminal like Vladimir Putin”.