AN SNP MSP has been branded “a fool” after wrongly accusing a bus company of anti-Catholic discrimination after cancelling services on St Patrick’s Day.

James Dornan who represents Glasgow Cathcart, made the accusation during a Holyrood justice debate last week.

Lothian Buses in Edinburgh has been hit by a spate of anti-social behaviour spanning a six-week period including bricks being thrown at vehicles.

Services have been suspended on more than one occasion.

But Mr Dornan suggested that the publicly-owned company believed “Irish Catholics were to blame for the rise in anti-social behaviour”, while he raised concerns about the celebrations by Rangers fans last month.

The SNP MSP said: “No-one has questioned Lothian Buses’ decision to cancel the evening buses on March 17. Edinburgh, our second largest city and our capital, was still in level three lockdown on St Patrick’s Day.

"Lothian Buses restricted travel for what could only be essential workers, commuting on a Tuesday evening.

“They mentioned a rise in anti-social behaviour as their reason, this was the only day that that action took place.

“I can only assume that Lothian Buses concluded that it was one of two things - that I’d be out celebrating my birthday or that Irish Catholics were to blame for this rise in anti-social behaviour.”

Mr Dornan added: “Why else cancel buses only for the night of an ubiquitous Irish Catholic holiday when pubs were not open and there was a stay at home order in place?

“Can you imagine if this has happened around July 12 or if it had happened around a Muslim festival or a Sikh festival? It is just not acceptable.”

But Labour MP for Edinburgh South, Ian Murray, has labelled Mr Dornan “a fool” over the comments.

READ MORE: James Dornan allowed to seek Holyrood re-election after SNP all-women shortlist U-turn

He added: “A Glasgow SNP MSP making up bigotry about Edinburgh.

“For the record, it was because bricks were being thrown through bus windows endangering lives.”

Labour city councillor Scott Arthur has also criticsed the remarks.

He said: “I utterly condemn this nonsense from an actual MSP.

“I stand in solidarity with Lothian Buses' staff and customers, some of whom have been subjected to horrendous abuse.”

A Lothian Buses spokesperson said: “Our drivers were subjected to daily attacks.

“Our decision to remove services after 7pm on March 17 was taken following serious concerns for the safety of our colleagues and we would not hesitate to do so again.”

The SNP has been contacted for comment.