A TORY council hopeful is facing calls from opponents to stand down over “racist” comments he made online, The National can reveal.

Bruce Whyte is standing in the Glasgow ward of Langside for the Scottish Tories – but his campaign could be derailed over an inflammatory Facebook post that was called “completely unacceptable” by Scotland’s largest Muslim organisation.

He questioned official stats about the number of people of Pakistani origin living in the diverse area of Pollokshields.

The Scottish Tories strongly deny Whyte’s comments were racist.

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But he has come under fire from the Muslim Council of Scotland (MCS), which described his comments as demonstrating a “negative attitude towards Asian communities”.

In a post from 2014, Whyte highlighted the growing ethnic diversity of Glasgow since 2001 – noting increases in the numbers of people from African and Caribbean countries as well as those from Indian and Bangladeshi heritage.

But he questioned whether the official numbers of Pakistanis were correct. He wrote: “The total number of Pakistanis ‘registered’ in Pllockshields [sic] East & West is just over 4000 against a total population count of 14,000!!! I challenge anyone to walk, ride or drive through this area and see evidence that supports there [are] as many white or black residents as Pakistanis in these areas. I wonder what the figures are for attendance at the local mosques?”

Dr Muhammad Adrees, convener of the MCS, said: “The Muslim Council of Scotland is concerned that a local government candidate should ever have made such comments.

“The social media post shows how dangerous the misuse of statistics can be – and the further comments both show his ignorance of the area he talks about, and negative attitudes towards Asian communities, that are completely unacceptable.

“This certainly raises questions about his suitability to be a candidate since his post seemed designed to use skewed analysis of statistics to raise fears about the changing demography of Glasgow rather than recognising the benefits for the city of being a diverse society, including the huge contributions made to the NHS and social care by staff from minority ethnic backgrounds.”

Whyte said he was not trying to “pillorise anyone from a minority ethnic background but [to] question what the changing face of Glasgow will be in another 10 or 20 years”.

The post has sparked calls for Whyte to withdraw from the race, with questions being asked about his “calibre and character”.

Jon Molyneux represents Pollokshields for the Scottish Greens and suggested Whyte’s comments demonstrated he was “troubled” by Glasgow’s diversity. He said: “The Scottish Conservatives should not provide a platform for racist views and withdraw Mr Whyte’s candidacy immediately. Anyone troubled by Glasgow’s multiculturalism has no place representing our vibrant and diverse communities.”

A spokesperson for the SNP group on the city council said: “Glasgow Tories already support the bedroom tax, rape clause, cutting Universal Credit and slashing services to children in our schools whose first language isn’t English. It’s no surprise then that yet again serious questions are being asked about the calibre and character of their candidates. On May 5, Glaswegians have a choice between Tories who want a hostile environment to immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees or the SNP with our positive vision for a diverse city.”

Whyte opened the post, made on October 4, 2014, saying he had been “reading some pretty amazing statistics on the changing demographics of ethnicity in Glasgow”. He added: “What it shows is that within the city of Glasgow the population of white Scottish, British and Irish has fallen by over 34,000.

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"Now as a stand-alone figure that is quite shocking but now add the fact the increase of other minority groups from the 2001 census to the most recent of 2011 where these figures are taken; 107% increase of Indians, 46% of Pakistanis and 93% of Bangladeshis but wait for it ... the increase of African and Caribbean residents has increased by 695%!”

In another Facebook post seen by The National, Whyte also praised then-deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon, calling her “a consummate politician who comes across as well-informed, passionate and as genuine as a politician can be”.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “As Bruce states very clearly in this Facebook post, his ‘point is not to pillorise anyone from a minority ethnic background’. There is nothing racist whatsoever in Bruce’s post ... Bruce will be reaching out to the Muslim Council of Scotland to reassure them that he values Asian communities tremendously and fully recognises the benefits of the huge contribution of people from minority ethnic backgrounds to Glasgow and Scotland.

“Bruce accepts that this post from eight years ago was worded poorly, albeit not maliciously. He also acknowledges that he used statistics that he hadn’t verified on his own, which is never a wise thing to do.”