DOUGLAS Ross has said he personally ordered Tory council candidates who expressed an interest in "racist" online content to be “thoroughly” investigated following The National’s reporting on the issues.

This paper has revealed a host of Conservative council candidate picks who had been deeply tied to the Orange Order, posted “racist” messaging online, and subscribed to channels broadcasting the views of KKK chiefs.

During a press huddle at his party’s conference in Aberdeen, Ross (below) was asked if these incidents were indicative of the type of candidate the Tories were putting up to represent the people of Scotland.

Tory candidates Jamie Robertson (left) and Bruce Whyte have had their candidacy called into question

The Scottish Tory leader said: “I think the candidates, I think they have been clear they subscribed to these channels and they didn’t look at all the content in it.

“I think they’ve been in touch with various organisations to reach out because they understand the hurt that causes. I have also instructed the party to investigate these issues because I want to make sure we have as much information as possible as we look at these allegations.”

“I’ve asked the party to thoroughly look into this,” he added.

As The National reported, the one channel subscribed to by Tory candidate Jamie Robertson was called DavidDukeRadioClips, and exclusively posts videos of the former KKK chief David Duke.

Another candidate, who featured in promotional videos being shown at the Scottish Tory conference, is called Bruce Whyte. The SNP said that “racist” comments he made in the past mean Whyte “must not end up on a ballot paper at this election”.

Responding to the outrage over the Tory picks, Ross said: “You are perfectly right to highlight those candidates, in the same way I could highlight many other candidates.

“We’ve got people who have been writing very strongly against the SNP’s education plans who are now hoping to get into council chambers across Scotland to deliver real change in education.

“We’ve got vets, doctors, nurses, we’ve got a range of candidates who I think will stand up for the local community, deliver for local priorities, and really be champions for their local area and I’m proud to campaign alongside those candidates.”