A SENIOR councillor has been suspended by Scottish Labour following a police inquiry into allegations of homophobic abuse.

Last night a spokesman told The National that Tom McAughtrie was “under administrative suspension” from the party and from the Labour group at Dumfries and Galloway Council while the matter was investigated by officers.

Police Scotland launched an inquiry last month after receiving a complaint that McAughtrie had called a leading Dumfries gay rights activist and a friend of her’s, Anglican priest Andrew Crosbie, “deviants”.

The complaint related to a post on McAughtrie’s Facebook account about Dr Belle Doyle, the chair of the local LGBT+ group in Dumfries and Galloway, and Crosbie, the priest at St Bride’s Anglican Church in Dumfries.

It read: “Thankfully you two deviants were dealt what you deserved by the people of Dumfries.”

A source close to the case told The National it was unclear exactly what circumstances the comments referred to but it is understood that, given her public work on LGBT+ issues Doyle, who is gay, found the reference to “deviants” abusive.

Crosbie allows his church hall to be used by Doyle’s LGBT+ for monthly meetings and fundraising events.

It is understood McAughtrie was detained and interviewed in connection with the case by officers last month and police have submitted a report to the procurator fiscal.

McAughtrie, 65, remains a member of Dumfries and Galloway Council and chairman of a local transport body, the South West of Scotland Transport Partnership. He did not respond to calls from The National yesterday or on Monday.

A fellow councillor on the Labour-run authority was last night unaware of McAughtrie’s suspension from the party.

John Martin said McAughtrie attended a full council meeting yesterday, sitting with the Labour group.

He said: “Tom arrived back from China this morning and went straight to the council meeting.

He sat beside me in the meeting in the middle of the Labour group.”

A Labour source insisted, however, that McAughtrie was suspended and while he is entitled to sit with the Labour group he is not allowed to attend Labour group meetings.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Police Scotland can confirm a 65-year-old man from Dumfries is the subject of a report to the procurator fiscal in relation to the Communications Act 2003.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman confirmed McAughtrie had been suspended from the party.

He said: “Mr McAughtrie has been placed under administrative suspension from holding office or representing the Labour Party, and from Dumfries and Galloway Labour Group. It is important that these allegations are investigated.

The “deviants” remarks came in the aftermath of a highly-charged mood among the gay community in Dumfries following the suicide of 15-year-old school girl Chloe Orr in the town in May. Chloe took her own life after she encountered homophobic abuse.

A fundraising event to help cover Chloe’s funeral costs was held at the hall at Crosbie’s church, also known as Greyfriars.

A spokesman for Dumfries and Galloway Council refused to answer any questions relating to McAughtrie.

He said: “This would be a matter for the political party of the person allegedly involved.”