SNP councillor Kairin van Sweeden has resigned her membership after Humza Yousaf labelled her language “unacceptable”.

Humza Yousaf said Kairin van Sweeden was right to apologise for her comments made during an Aberdeen City Council meeting on Wednesday, where she described Labour councillor Deena Tissera as a “new Scot”.

Councillor Tissera, who was born in Sri Lanka and holds full British citizenship, had since written to the First Minister urging him to suspend Van Sweeden and “stand together against racism”.

However, the SNP have confirmed Van Sweeden has “stepped back” from her SNP membership and referred herself to the Standards Commission.

A spokesperson said: "Cllr van Sweeden has taken the decision to refer herself to the Standards Commission and requested the SNP National Secretary investigate comments she made during yesterday's council meeting, which she immediately and unreservedly apologised for.

"Whilst those processes are underway, she has stepped back from her SNP party membership.”

Van Sweeden had apologised for the “clumsy language”, which was been dismissed by Yousaf.

He told the PA news agency on Thursday: “It was unacceptable. I saw the comment this morning. It’s unacceptable and the councillor is right to apologise.

“In fact, I also want to apologise to councillor Tissera who was on the receiving end of that comment.

“There will now be a process around a potential disciplinary. I’ll not interfere in that process.”

Referencing Van Sweeden’s apology, he said: “It wasn’t just clumsy. It speaks to the unconscious bias and discrimination that people hold and we all have to challenge ourselves – we all have it – but we have to challenge ourselves about it.

“But there’s just no kind of place for that language. I saw the comments and I was thoroughly disappointed.”

The remark came during an Aberdeen Council debate on austerity on Wednesday afternoon.

Van Sweeden said: “I realise, as a new Scot, councillor Tissera maybe doesn’t know about the mitigation that the SNP Government has had to put in over the years they have been in power.”

The SNP councillor later apologised in the chamber following objections by other councillors. She later said: “I unreservedly apologise for the clumsy language I used in the chamber and the offence it caused.

“It could not be further from the values I hold.”

Van Sweeden used the phrase "New Scot" away from its usual context welcoming people to Scotland, Tissera claimed.

During a meeting of the council on Wednesday, Tissera said: "I have taken the life in the UK test to become a citizen and I probably know more than you do.”