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by Staff reporter
15 February 2018
Exclusive: SNP suspends Edinburgh Councillor Lewis Ritchie

Exclusive: SNP suspends Edinburgh Councillor Lewis Ritchie

An SNP councillor who was nominated for a top political award last year has been suspended from the party.

Holyrood understand that Lewis Ritchie, councillor for the Leith Walk ward in Edinburgh, has been suspended from the SNP pending a disciplinary hearing.

Ritchie, who was, up until recently, the council’s planning convenor took a “leave of absence” from his council duties in November just days after he had been nominated for the Local Politician of the Year at the Herald’s Politician of the Year awards.

At the time, the party said the councillor’s decision to step aside was due to health reasons and said he would be able to return to his council duties when he felt able to do so.

However, Holyrood understands that his recent suspension comes after an investigation by the party following a complaint made about an alleged fracas at the party’s conference in Glasgow in October.

A spokesperson for the SNP said: "A complaint has been passed to the disciplinary committee and Cllr Ritchie is under administrative suspension until a hearing takes place."

Ritchie is a keen athlete and was named chair of the Royal Air Forces Association for Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders and is an army reservist.

In November last year he had to apologise to a female party colleague after making what was described as a “completely inappropriate” comment to her at a committee meeting.

During a discussion on a planning matter, Ritchie told fellow councillor, Kate Campbell, she could touch a stone with her hands and “whatever other parts of your body you want to touch it with.”

He previously attracted media attention after describing the designs behind plans to turn the Royal High School in Edinburgh into a hotel as “ugly”, “abhorrent” and almost “universally reviled” by anyone who has seen them. And in February last year had to apologise to Hibs chief executive Leanne Dempster after launching a petition calling for the football club to pay the Living Wage, when in fact they already did.

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