A COUNCILLOR accused of punching someone in the back of a taxi has quit the SNP.

Lewis Ritchie, Edinburgh Council’s former planning chief, said he would continue as an independent councillor for the city’s Leith Walk.

But Edinburgh’s SNP group said there were a “number of complaints regarding his behaviour” and urged him to consider his position.

A party spokesman said: “Councillor Ritchie resigned from the party because there were a number of complaints regarding his behaviour.

“He should consider whether he is fit to represent his constituents as an independent councillor.”

In a statement posted to social media, Mr Ritchie said he had the “honour of representing Leith Walk as an independent councillor”.

He added: “As an independent, my ward and the people I’m proud to represent will always be my number one priority.”

Mr Ritchie – who is now Edinburgh’s only independent councillor – was suspended by the SNP following allegations that he hit another delegate at last year’s party conference in Glasgow.

He had earlier stepped aside from his role as planning convener due to “health reasons”, after telling party bosses he had taken on too much work and was overwhelmed.

Last year the councillor was forced to apologise to a female party colleague after making a “completely inappropriate” comment during a committee meeting.

During a discussion on a planning matter, Mr Ritchie told fellow councillor Kate Campbell she could touch a stone with her hands and “whatever other parts of your body you want to touch it with”.

A keen boxer and runner, Mr Ritchie was previously named chair of the Royal Air Forces Association for Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders.

He is also an army reservist – a position for which he is paid around £1,000 a year, on top of his council salary of £31,712.