AN economist has been suspended from the SNP following accusations of racism sparked by an attack on Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Dr Tim Rideout replied to a post about remarks Patel made, citing concerns over a potential backdoor for Ukrainian refugees entering the UK from Ireland.

The post read: "Taoiseach Micheal Martin has confirmed that Priti Patel complained to the Irish government that Ireland’s welcoming policy towards Ukrainian refugees would allow them to reach the UK by the back door."

Rideout, a Lothians member of the SNP Policy Development Committee, replied: "So how do we send this person back to Uganda? Clearly hasn't a shred of humanity. Mind you, maybe the new proposed refugee centre on St Helena might avoid inflicting her on anyone. Can compare notes with Napoleon's ghost."

The Herald asked the SNP about the comments, which the party labelled "offensive and disgusting".

It's understood Dr Rideout has now been suspended from the party with an investigation to ensue.

Opposition politicians took aim at the economist, with Tory MSP Donald Cameron calling it "completely beyond the pale".

He said: “To make such a racially-charged remark like this is totally unacceptable – it has no place in civilised debate."

Speaking before the suspension was announced, he added: “As well as issuing an unreserved apology to the Home Secretary, Tim Rideout should consider his own position.

“Equally, Nicola Sturgeon must reassess his role and influence within her party immediately, or risk turning a blind eye to this kind of behaviour.

“The First Minister must send a clear message that appalling remarks such as this have no place in our political discourse.”

Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray MP added: “These are truly horrendous and outright racist remarks from a key advisor to Nicola Sturgeon.

“While I am no supporter of Priti Patel, nobody should be subjected to this kind of out and out racism. It has no place in Scotland.”

He continued: “Nicola Sturgeon must suspend Tim Rideout’s membership of the SNP and remove him from his advisory positions immediately.

“I also hope Police Scotland take action.”

And Alex Cole-Hamilton, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said: “Mr Rideout is an influential figure in the Nationalist movement, which makes this nakedly racist broadside all the more serious.”

Asked if they would be cutting ties with Dr Rideout, an SNP spokesperson told The Herald: "This tweet is offensive and disgusting.” 

They added: “The National Secretary has been made aware and is looking into this.”