A HIGHLANDS councillor has been suspended by his SNP branch after he criticised the Scottish Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ron MacWilliam had hit out at the Scottish Government’s handling of the pandemic and has had the whip removed by the party.

Mr MacWilliam says he remains an SNP party member as he has been for 29 years, but has accused his party of acting “so slowly and evasively” during the pandemic.

He has been suspended by the SNP group at The Highland Council.

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He said: “I want to make clear that I remain a member of the Scottish National Party and I look forward to setting the record straight at a disciplinary panel once the pandemic is over.

“I will, however, not sit back and allow politicians of any party, including my own, to act so slowly and evasively without question during the most horrific humanitarian crisis of the past century.”

He added: “I will continue my work to build up a community resilience network.

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“Today I will be working with our partners at medic-led Med Supply Scotland to appeal for volunteers in a Scotland-wide action to shift unused PPE supplies from industry to our healthcare frontline.

“I will do so without distraction and so will our amazing volunteers.”

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The Inverness Courier reported that Mr MacWilliam, who has represented the Inverness Ness-side ward since 2017, was informed of the decision by Angus MacLeon, the national organiser of the SNP. He was told that it was an “administrative suspension” and is “pending the full disciplinary process...at a later date”.

But a spokeswoman for the SNP said that this was not the case, and he had instead been suspended by the SNP Highland group - rather than the party.

Ian Cockburn, the co-leader of the SNP Highlands group, confirmed he has been suspended.

He added: "There will be a formal enquiry into his suspension after the Covid-19 pandemic situation is over."