THE SNP’s Michael Russell has criticised the chairman of a local Tory after he told a former SNP MEP to “go back to the country of your birth”.

Ex-MEP Christian Allard, a French-born politician, spoke out in an interview with the Press and Journal after an exchange with Banff and Buchan Conservative Association chairman Ritchie.

He also warned of a rise in xenophobia and racism since the Brexit vote in 2016.

READ MORE: Tory candidate Jennifer Ross forced to delete 'nasty' Russell tweet

The Tory had posted: “Your SNP cult has created this hate fuelled separation environment … Not happy, then go back to your country of birth, simple.” Allard replied: “Another one taking the time to show me my own front door. I live here, I can’t undo my three children and my four grandchildren, I can’t undo my life in the UK. If not #indyref2020 then what?”

Ritchie then tweeted: “We all have choices … I have not shown you the door, I simply pointed out that you have a choice.”

The National:

The Conservative association chairman deleted the comments and said one of the tweets was “worded poorly”.

He added: “I did not mean to cause Mr Allard any offence.”

He resigned from his post on Tuesday afternoon.

Allard, who was elected as an MEP last year, served until Brexit Day on January 31.

He has lived in Scotland for 35 years.

Reflecting on the Twitter exchange, he told the P&J: “Telling me to go home is asking me to head to Torry – what have we become?

“We never got this kind of approach before Brexit but since then it has been awful.

READ MORE: Christian Allard told by Tory to ‘go back to your country of birth’

“As a politician I deal with it and respond as I did here but for others on the street they have to report it to the police. There is no place in Scotland for xenophobia or racism.”

Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart had also earlier called out Ritchie on the online exchange, saying: “Disgraceful behaviour from a Tory constituency chair. The tweet may be deleted, but the sentiment remains. @Christia_Allard & every other EU national, who has chosen to live, love & work here has my full support. This is your home. #OneScotland.”

Elsewhere, Russell himself was the focus of a Twitter storm in the last few days after a Scottish Tory candidate in last year’s general election accused him of being a “nasty man and a liar”.

In a now-deleted tweet, Jennifer Ross, who stood for the party in the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency, also sensationally claimed that he had “falsified figures to dupe his voter base”.

In another tweet, she said that “he won’t be missed” after announcing he would be stepping down from his Holyrood seat, before going on to say that another independence referendum would not take place “in our lifetime” and referring to “deluded Nationalist vote fodder for the SNP to stay in power”.

And in response to reports suggesting under-25s are too immature to be handed a jail sentence, Ross quoted one such online article while “pointing out” that SNP MP Mhairi Black was voted in at 21.