A UNIONIST member of the House of Lords has come under heavy fire on social media after referring to vice president-elect Kamala Harris as simply “the Indian”.

The racist remark has reportedly already been brought to the attention of Joe Biden's team, according to Pippa Crerar, the Daily Mirror's political editor, and the SNP have called for the Lord's suspension.

John Taylor, who was made a life peer as Baron Kilclooney in 2001, tweeted to ask what would happen to the role of vice president should Joe Biden be unable to continue in the top role.

He wrote: “What happens if Biden moves on and the Indian becomes President. Who then becomes Vice President?”

READ MORE: Lords speaker demands apology for Unionist peer's racist Kamala Harris remark​

Taylor’s comments have been widely condemned as “overt racism”, with Elena Whitham, an SNP candidate for Holyrood in 2021, writing: “I am aghast at this from someone charged with making decisions on our behalf in the unelected House of Lords.

“It is wholly repugnant.”

Harris is of both Indian Tamil and Afro-Jamaican ancestry. She will be the first Asian American, the first African American, and the first female vice president in US history.

In the event that Harris has to take over from Biden in the role of president, she would choose a vice president to work under her.

The peer has now deleted his tweet, after around 8 hours of it being live.

He wrote that his original tweet had been "cancelled", adding: "Whilst Biden is proud to be Irish and Harris is rightly proud of her Indian background I certainly withdraw my reference to her as an Indian as it seems to have upset some people. I did not know her name and identified her with the term Indian. Most people understood. Racist NO"

Responding to one Twitter user who pointed out that Kamala Harris is not called “the Indian”, Taylor wrote: “Oh Harris is her name! The media has simply been reporting a ‘black person!’”

This is unfounded.

He has added elsewhere: “I dislike the media characterisation of her being a black person. Keep colour out of it!” and “Throughout India people are quite rightly celebrating her election as vice president-elect.”

The peer's recent use of "the Indian" comes after also using the derogatory term to refer to former Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. 

Labour shadow minister Wes Streeting said "action must be taken" over the peer's tweet.

"He did it before to Leo Varadkar and now he's done it to Kamala Harris. This sort of racism would be unacceptable from anyone, but from a member of the House of Lords it beggars belief," Streeting tweeted.

The SNP have called for Taylor to be suspended from the Lords, but said his comment is a symptom of the "culture of everyday racism" at Westminster.

The SNP House of Lords spokesperson, Tommy Sheppard MP, said: “It is a disgrace that Lord Kilclooney refuses to accept that comments he made about vice president-elect Kamala Harris were overtly racist, in what was clearly a vile attempt to talk down her historic achievement.

“These appalling comments follow on from Boris Johnson’s racist remarks from 2016 about Barack Obama which have damaged the UK’s international standing.

“Lord Kilclooney’s non-apology simply isn’t good enough - there must be an immediate inquiry into his conduct and he must be suspended from the House of Lords.

“Boris Johnson must finally take responsibility for his racist comments. This culture of everyday racism at Westminster has been allowed to continue unhindered for too long. It must finally end.”

Scottish Minister Paul Wheelhouse said Taylor had showed why the Lords needs to be abolished.

He tweeted: "Wow. That tweet, in a nutshell, shows why the House of Lords needs to be abolished asap and, if the rest of the UK wants a revising chamber after Scotland regains her independence, then it should make sure that replacement is fully elected, so racism can be driven out of it."

Taylor’s most recent comment comes amid reports that Harris “hates” Boris Johnson, news which does not bode well for the Tories’ plans of a post-Brexit “special relationship” with the USA.

The president-elect Joe Biden called Johnson a “physical and emotional clone” of Donald Trump, and reportedly has not forgiven him for past comments about Obama’s “part-Kenyan” heritage, which were widely deemed racist.

READ MORE: Joe Biden remembers Boris Johnson's 'racist comments' about Barack Obama

A source from the US told The Sunday Times: “If you think Joe hates [Johnson], you should hear Kamala.”

Taylor sits as a crossbencher in the Lords, having previously been deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP).

His latest comment comes just a few days after he said that Joe Biden would still be “pathetic” even if he won the presidency.

Taylor tweeted: “Even if Biden wins he is still pathetic and I fear for the USA in the next 4 years!”

Three days later, he added: “Democracy is a great institution and using it to become President of the world’s greatest nation is to be congratulated.

“I wish Mr Biden well and trust that he will not use his Irish Background to offend the UK people of Northern Ireland.”

Biden is proud of his Irish heritage and will reportedly be using the secret service codename Celtic while in office.

In 2012, Taylor wrote to The Scotsman newspaper to suggest Scotland be partitioned in the event of a Yes vote. "If, say, Strathclyde or the Lowlands prefer to remain in the UK then that decision should be honoured by a partition of Scotland," he said.