A popular historian has been condemned for comparing Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond to Adolf Hitler.
Dr David Starkey told an audience convened by centre-right think tank The Bow Group that Mr Salmond is a "Caledonian Hitler".
According to the Huffington Post website, Mr Starkey said: "If you think about it, Alex Salmond is a democratic Caledonian Hitler, although some would say Hitler was more democratically elected. (For him) the English, like the Jews, are everywhere."
Bow Group council member Nic Conner, who attended the event, confirmed the comments, although he maintained that they had been taken out of context.
He said: "Dr Starkey began by questioning some of the myths surrounding Alex Salmond: the political myth that he is one of the greatest political leaders of our time when what he has done is all a trick, tapping into nationalism and the idea of a common enemy, in this case the English. He then compared this, somewhat unfortunately, to Hitler."
Mr Conner said it was a "balanced meeting" with speeches by Shami Chakrabarti, director of civil rights group Liberty, and Dr Kwasi Kwarteng MP.
The Bow Group exists to develop policy, publish research and stimulate debate within the Conservative Party.
Its events are publicised, although a spokesman said they are normally held under the "Chatham House Rule" where discussions are confidential to encourage openness and debate. However, the spokesman said this is becoming increasingly redundant in the age of Twitter and social networking.
A spokesman for the First Minister said: "This offensive nonsense is actually an insult to Scotland and to the people of Scotland. David Starkey is getting dafter and crankier with every passing day.
"His litany of offensive comments are designed only to provoke outrage, and thankfully England is blessed with a great number of far better historians than him. We can count ourselves lucky that David Starkey is nowhere near the teaching of history in Scottish schools. In the words of Robert Burns, Scots will 'look and laugh' at this nonsense."