OPPOSITION politicians who challenge the SNP or Nicola Sturgeon are "immediately monstered on social media", a Liberal Democrat MSP has said. 

Alex Cole-Hamilton said he has been the subject of multiple "vexatious" complaints to electoral authorities and the police since winning Edinburgh Western from the SNP in 2016. 

He blamed SNP supporters, adding: "These tactics may be designed to put me off or slow me down, but the reverse is true."

Writing in the Edinburgh Evening News, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: "Beat the SNP in a Holyrood election and that victory comes with an office in parliament and a great big target on your back. 

"For all their power, they sure do worry about the opposition. 

"Since I defied the odds and won Edinburgh Western from the SNP in 2016, I've faced: two police complaints and a full police investigation; two Electoral Commission complaints and a full Electoral Commission investigation; two Standards Commission complaints and now an investigation - all at the behest of the SNP or their followers.

"The allegations levelled against me in every case were dismissed as being utterly vexatious."

He added: "I'm furious at the colossal waste of time (particularly police time) and public money that each complaint has triggered, but above that, I'm angry that this is how we do politics in Scotland now."

Mr Cole-Hamilton continued: "I can tell you from experience, when my election spending was referred to the police, that walking two detectives through the evidence that would ultimately confirm my innocence over two hours in a police station, was deeply unsettling."

An SNP spokesman said: "Alex Cole-Hamilton is quick to demand robust scrutiny of his political opponents but appears much less keen when his own decisions and behaviours are subject to the same exacting standards.

"The SNP contest every seat in Scotland with the intention to win, and in the face of rising support for independence, it sounds like Alex Cole-Hamilton is already panicking about his prospects of winning next May."