NICOLA Sturgeon has been called on to remove a Monaco-based billionaire who has fallen out with the Government from her council of economic advisers.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay said Jim McColl, whose education and transport ventures have benefited from public money, should no longer be part of the First Minister’s team.

McColl, one of Scotland’s richest men, is the chair and chief executive of Glasgow-based Clyde Blowers Capital (CBC), an industrial investment firm.

His expertise led to former First Minister Alex Salmond appointing him as an economic adviser to the Government in 2007, a role he retains.

McColl, who lives in a tax haven in a principality close to the south of France, has also had financial links with the SNP administration.

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In 2014, CBC helped rescue the ailing Ferguson shipyard from administration. The new venture, Ferguson Marine, secured a £97m contract from a government body to build two ferries, but the project was marred by cost overruns and disputes.

The row escalated after the Government took Ferguson Marine into public control, a move widely expected to lead to nationalisation.

McColl accused ministers of "abusing their power" in their handling of the controversy and said they were “throwing away” the chance of the firm securing new orders.

Separately, McColl was the driving force behind Newlands Junior College, a privately funded school for 14-16 year olds who had become “disengaged” from education.

The SNP Government gave NJC £345,000 worth of operating costs in 2017/18 and £363,000 the following year, on top of a £500,000 capital grant for establishing the school.

The school closed after NJC failed to secure funding from the SNP-run Glasgow council for a rollout of the scheme across the city. McColl blasted the council at the time.

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Image: McColl

Findlay told the Herald on Sunday: “Jim McColl’s recent track record raises serious questions - he has created chaos at Ferguson’s by pushing workers to the brink and NJC previously took public money to set up a school that went on to close.

“Nicola Sturgeon should seriously reconsider his place on her council of economic advisers. The First Minister should explain why a Monaco-based billionaire was appointed to this important group in the first place.

“It is now time for the SNP to consider showing Jim McColl the door and start to answer the questions they have dodged over this ferry fiasco.”

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Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens co-leader, has previously urged the Government to “reconsider” McColl’s role on the advisory body, which also includes Glasgow University principal Anton Muscatelli and renowned economist Joseph Stiglitz.

McColl did not respond to a request for a comment.

In an interview in February, McColl said he felt no “guilt” about living in Monaco, adding that his move there was motivated by his love of sports cars, not tax.

He said: “It’s full of the best sports cars you can find and I like it, the temperature is good. I don’t have any guilt about what I’m doing. I’m staying in a place in the world that I want to stay in and I’m very keen on supporting the country that I was born in.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Council of Economic Advisers is an important body with a diverse range of expertise offering advice to Ministers on broad economic issues. Membership has evolved over time to ensure the council has the required expertise to address its remit and focus at any given period. Following the sad death of Sir James Mirrlees and the recent departure of Frances Ruane, membership is currently under review.”