A CONSERVATIVE councillor in Fife has ended her teaching career rather than face a hearing into her social media attacks on the First Minister and SNP members.

Councillor Kathleen Leslie called Nicola Sturgeon a “drooling hag” and “a wee fish wife” as well as making other offensive tweets prior to the 2014 independence referendum. She also called Lottery winners and SNP donors the Weir family “uneducated fat f******”.

Yesterday it was announced that the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) had accepted her decision to remove herself from the teaching register after the GTCS alleged that her fitness to teach had been impaired.

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In the latest embarrassment for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party in local government — two Stirling councillors were suspended for racist and sectarian remarks — it also emerged yesterday that Leslie’s Tory council group leader was defending the disgraced councillor by suggesting that the matter was “a storm in a tea cup.”

Even more pointedly, Cllr David Dempsey suggested to his local newspaper that Cllr Leslie’s views were widespread in the Tory Party.

He said: “It’s no longer relevant, the comments are years old. She is intensely pro-union and that is reflected in her disapproval of the SNP. Some of us may think the thoughts — she actively expressed them.”

Those remarks brought a furious response from the SNP. MSP Jenny Gilruth said: “Kathleen Leslie’s online rants were spectacularly ill-judged and insulting, and were far from the behaviour the public expect from politicians.

“What’s more astonishing is that Cllr Dave Dempsey has suggested these views are widespread within the party, but that others simply know to keep quiet.

“All politicians have a duty to lead by example and set a respectful tone in political debate. If Ruth Davidson continues to abdicate her responsibility to get her party into line, we can only assume that Dave Dempsey is right, and these unacceptable views are indeed widely-held within the Conservative party.

Theresa May famously once said that people often see the Tories as the nasty party — given Ruth Davidson’s failure to properly deal with some of the appalling comments made by some of their new elected representatives, it’s perhaps not hard to see why.”

It is understood that Lesley decided to strike herself off the register in July but the statement by the GTCS was only made yesterday. It included her consent to the following statement: “I waive my right to have a full hearing and admit the following allegations made against me relating to my fitness to teach in full that on exact dates unknown between 2013 and 2014, whilst employed by Fife Council as a teacher at School A, you did post inappropriate and offensive comments on social media.

“I freely and willingly consent to being removed from GTC Scotland’s register of teachers in view of my admission of the allegations set out above and understand that I will be prohibited from applying for restoration to that Register for a period of two years.”

Leslie, who was elected councillor for Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy in May after a 16 year teaching career, told reporters: “I chose not to exercise my right to take the issue to a hearing, as I no longer wished to continue teaching, having decided to fully commit myself to representing my ward, ensuring that the interests of my constituents were being served and their voices heard.”

Ruth Davidson said last night: “These comments were clearly unacceptable. Leslie apologised for them when they came to light and removed them from social media.

“I’ve made it clear that everyone representing the Scottish Conservatives must uphold the highest standards when in office. Whatever our differences, we must all strive for a more respectful public debate in Scotland.

“I expect all Conservative councillors, MPs and MSPs to do so and I reiterate that today.”