POLICE Scotland has confirmed it is "assessing" a tweet by economist Dr Tim Rideout about Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Dr Rideout was suspended from the SNP over allegations that a remark he made criticising the UK minister was racist.

The SNP have launched an investigation into the post by the economist, who was the Lothians member of the party's policy development committee.

Dr Rideout's comment that is now being probed by police was in reply to a tweet which said: "Taoiseach Micheál 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"

The National: Home Secretary Priti Patel speaking to the media outside the Ukrainian embassy in London. Picture date: Sunday March 6, 2022..

He 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."

Police Scotland has now said it is "assessing" the tweet after receiving a complaint, The Times revealed.

A police spokeswoman said: “We’ve received a complaint and the content of the tweet is being assessed.”

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

In response to the tweet being raised at First Minister's Questions, Nicola Sturgeon pledged to "root out and condemn toxic, racist political discourse”.

Conservative MSP Pam Gosal had said: “Tim Rideout, a senior SNP advisor, made appalling racist comments about the Home Secretary.

“Such comments have no place in society, let alone in political debate. I welcome that the SNP has taken quick action in suspending and launching an investigation into M Rideout's conduct.

“But racism is never an isolated incident. And this is something all parties must condemn. So will the First Minister assure Bame communities and Scotland and the broader public that her party will continue to root out and condemn toxic, racist political discourse.”

The National: Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood

The First Minister replied: “Yes, I will. The individual concerned, as Pam Gosal has fairly pointed out, was immediately suspended from the SNP. It would be wrong for me to comment any further.”

Sturgeon said she represents “the most diverse constituency in the whole of Scotland” adding that she “understands these issues”.

“I understand how serious it is that all parties take these issues very seriously,” she said. “And I am absolutely committed to doing so I think this is an issue for all parties.

“We all have to be prepared to act when necessary in a way that aligns with what we see around these things. And I for my part, probably speaking mood as leader of the SNP presiding officer, he then is First Minister, I am determined that my party does so and I would call and other parties to meet through the always follow suit as well.

"And that I think is something hopefully we can unite on.”