THE Institute of Directors has been plunged into another racism row after a senior figure in Scotland used social media to share articles warning of a “Muslim takeover of Europe”.

The National can also reveal that Michael Willis, the group’s head of board development, is close to Jim Dowson, the founder of Britain First. The news will rattle staff at the IoD. Last month, chairwoman Lady Judge resigned amid allegations of racism and bullying.

Yesterday, after being alerted to Willis’s tweets, the business body distanced themselves from the Stirling-based businessman, saying that despite him being head of board development, he was not staff.

In tweets, now deleted, Willis shared articles claiming Europe was “a dying continent soon to be overrun by Muslims”.

He shared links from a far-right website which insisted Europe was being threatened by a “demographic timebomb” that will see Christians replaced by Muslims.

Willis also linked to an article claiming Nicola Sturgeon could not be “invested in the future of the West” as she does not have children.

In the 1990s, Willis was the frontman for anti-abortion campaigners ProLife Alliance.

The evangelical groups brought US-style abortion politics to Scotland, taking part in pickets outside Boots the chemist, and targeting politicians.

It was here Willis met and became friendly with Dowson, who was, at the time, involved in the militant Precious Life campaign.

While Willis moved on to the world of management consultancy, Dowson went to the BNP, where he worked as treasurer, raising millions of pounds for the party.

He then formed and bankrolled Britain First, though he quit in 2014.

More recently he has been named as central to the Knights Templar International (KTI), a quasi-religious sect accused of supporting Christian militias in Kosovo.

Hope Not Hate say it is apt to describe Dowson as “the evil genius” of Britain’s far right.

He and Willis remain on friendly terms. In January, Dowson posted a picture of his family on Facebook, writing: “Victory assured as the libtards don’t breed but I have replicated myself many times over (and still growing numbers) so tomorrow belongs to us!!! Deus vult.”

Willis replied: “Happy new year Jim, and to your extended family”.

Dowson replied: “I owe much of this to you...[You] taught me the value of a pro-life outlook. I can never repay the debt I owe you dear brother.”

Willis replied: “Deus lo Vult.”

The Latin phrase means God wills it, and was originally associated with the Crusades, but in recent years has become connected to the alt-right.

In 2016 a mosque in Cumbernauld was defaced with the phrase.

The IoD said: “Mr Willis is not a member of staff and these tweets certainly do not reflect the views of the Institute. We have used his services in the past, but given that these views fall well below the standard that we expect, we will be reviewing our relationship as a matter of urgency and will take appropriate action where necessary.”

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar, chair of the Cross Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia, said: “It’s deeply worrying that one of Scotland’s top businesses leaders has shared such intolerant and hurtful posts on social media.

“Even worse, it would appear he has personally engaged with the far-right founder of a racist party on Facebook. This demonstrates how far we still have to go to tackle Islamophobia and all forms of prejudice and bigotry in Scotland – we’re not immune from it. We can’t hope to eradicate racism across society if those at the top of society are allowed to promote racist views.”

Willis did not comment.