AN SNP staffer was last night forced to apologise after sparking a row over comments calling for “disease-ridden” soft play centres to “stay closed forever”.

Kat Carey, a Scottish Parliament admin officer for Highland MSP Emma Roddick was heavily criticised by sector bosses after her scathing Tweet, in which she branded the trade “over-priced, disease-ridden” and “[reeking] of p*ss”.

It comes after soft play business owners held a protest outside the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday after being forced to close for more than a year.

Under the current coronavirus restriction system, the centres cannot reopen in levels two, three or four.

HeraldScotland: Protests at the Scottish Parliament on TuesdayProtests at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday

According to the Daily Record, Carey shared a news report of the protest, telling her 18,000 followers: “Stay closed forever you over-priced, disease-ridden, wreaking-of-p*ss nightmare of a children’s birthday party venue.

“Give me roller rinks, mini golf, or bowling every day of the week.”

The SNP aide has since apologised and removed the comments - however bosses claim the "derogatory" post shows the "ignorance" towards the industry.

Craig Meikle, from Saltire Soft Play in Midlothian, said: “That tweet just sums up for me the ignorance that has been shown to our industry all along and highlights the discrimination.

“We’ve been through so much in the last 15 months and a lot of people have lost their businesses, this is just rubbing salt in the wounds.

“I can’t believe for the life of me that someone in that position would post something so derogatory.

“If this is the kind of discrimination that members of the SNP will openly display on social media I dread to think how they discuss our businesses behind closed doors.”

Andrew Newton, director of the Association of Indoor Play, told the Scottish Sun the remarks are “absolutely disgraceful”.

He added: “It seems to play into a narrative that there seems to be a vendetta against indoor play by the current administration.”

And Scottish Conservatives shadow children’s minister Meghan Gallacher added: “Struggling soft play owners will be utterly appalled that someone working in a position where she could potentially help them has been so dismissive of their concerns.”

An apology has since been issued by the admin officer.

Carey told the Record: “My Tweet was intended to be tongue in cheek after a bad experience, but it was misguided and insensitive.

“I have deleted the Tweet and I am sorry for offence caused.”