A COUNCILLOR will be asked not to take part in any official business or events after being charged by police in connection with sexual offences and indecent communications.

Lewis Ritchie, a former SNP councillor, has been arrested and charged by police over alleged offences between April 2016 and October 2019 in Leith.

Another alleged incident is said to have happened in Glasgow in October 2017.

The 36-year-old, who is co-founder of the Edinburgh Party of Independent Councillors (EPIC), is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date.

His party's secretary, Gavin Barrie, has confirmed Mr Ritchie has stepped down from EPIC.

Mr Barrie said: "Having spoken to Cllr Ritchie, he has indicated that he is withdrawing from the independent group pending the outcome of the legal process. "Given that this matter is subject of a criminal investigation it would be inappropriate to make any further comment at this time."

Mr Ritchie is subject to an ongoing investigation by the Standards Commission Scotland – and is now facing calls to resign from his position. He denies all allegations.

A spokesperson for the Standards Commission said: “Once the Standards Commission receives a concluded report from the Ethical Standards Commissioner, it will make a decision on how to proceed.”

Edinburgh City Council’s depute council leader, Cammy Day, believes Mr Ritchie should “absolutely” resign.

He said: “I think if these allegations and incidents are accurate, then Cllr Ritchie should do the decent thing and resign with immediate effect.

“If Cllr Ritchie does not do the decent thing and resign, then the Standards Commission should force that to happen.”

Mr Ritchie logged onto a virtual meeting of the council yesterday.

A council insider said that Mr Ritchie could be placed under a “defacto suspension” and is set to be told to stay away from council buildings and his duties while he faces the allegations.

They added: “The chief executive, in the coming days, will be writing to him to ask him not to attend the council, council buildings and take part in events for the foreseeable future.”

Mr Ritchie said: "I strongly refute the allegations officers of Police Scotland have recently conveyed to me.

"I intend to defend myself robustly if and when the opportunity arises to do so.

"As much as I would like to go into greater detail I cannot give any further statement until legal process has run its course."

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "A 36-year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with sexual offences and indecent communications between April 2016 and October 2019 in the Leith area of Edinburgh and October 2017 in the Kelvinbridge area of Glasgow.

"He was released on an undertaking to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date."