POLITICIANS have called for the head of Holyrood's Justice Committee to stand down until allegations that she made sectarian comments have been fully investigated.

It emerged yesterday Christine Grahame, SNP MSP and convenor of the committee, has been accused by a former employee of making sectarian remarks about colleagues, including members of her own party.

The Justice Committee is currently overseeing the anti-sectarian legislation, the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication Bill, that is going through Parliament.

The allegations have been published online by Mark Hirst, her former senior political adviser, who was sacked in September for gross misconduct and is taking Ms Grahame to an employment tribunal claiming unfair dismissal. The complaint has been sent to the presiding officer.

Ms Grahame yesterday described the claims as “ridiculous”.

Labour MSP Michael McMahon said: “Christine Grahame has a responsibility to ensure the Scottish Government is doing all it can to protect people from sectarianism and racism and any questions raised about her position on this matter must be cleared up as soon as possible.

“I would urge Ms Grahame to consider her position on the Justice Committee until such times as any investigation into this matter has been completed. Questions already exist about her neutrality while considering the so-called Bigot Bill, as she appears to believe more Catholics need to be arrested to even things up.”

The Herald revealed in September the Electoral Commission was investigating allegations made by Mr Hirst about Ms Grahame. This is ongoing.

Lothian and Borders Police probed allegations made by Mr Hirst in September but said they would take no further action.

A spokeswoman for Ms Grahame said: “Mr Hirst’s comments have absolutely no credibility and Ms Grahame will not respond to such ridiculous claims.

“Mr Hirst himself admits he is a disgruntled former employee who has been dismissed for gross misconduct and his previous allegations against Ms Grahame have been rejected by the police and dismissed by the Standards Commissioner.

“His comments have absolutely no credibility.”