A FORMER SNP adviser who was suspended from the party after being accused of making a racist tweet about Priti Patel will be readmitted and forced to attend an anti-racism training course.

Tim Rideout, who was a member of the party’s policy development committee, was kicked out of the party for six months after he made an offensive tweet about the former home secretary in March.

He has now served almost all of the six-month suspension and will be brought back into the fold- reports The Herald - on the condition that he undertakes a "course in racism education/unconscious bias”.

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The row was sparked during the beginning of the Ukrainian refugee crisis, when it was revealed Patel had raised concerns that Ireland’s open policy to those fleeing the war could use the country as a “backdoor” into the UK.

What did Tim Rideout tweet?

Responding to the news, Rideout tweeted: “So how do we send this person back to Uganda?”

Patel was born in London to Indian parents who had moved to Uganda before settling in the UK.

His comments sparked outrage among some members of the party and were condemned across the political spectrum, with his suspension even being noted by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Holyrood.

An SNP spokesperson at the time described Rideout’s comments as “offensive and disgusting”.

The National: Tory MSP for Lothians Pam GosalTory MSP for Lothians Pam Gosal (Image: Newsquest)

In an email sent by Elaine Wylie, convener of the SNP’s member conduct committee, Rideout was informed his suspension would end on September 16 if he attends anti-racism training.

A subsequent email from Lorna Finn, the party's national secretary, said there would be "no restriction" on his membership and that he would be "permitted to resume any duties". 

Rideout told The National he has not yet attended such a course.

He said: “I haven’t done the course yet because I haven’t been told what I’m supposed to do.

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“I should probably email the national secretary and ask them.”

In an email seen by this paper, Finn said she was in "discussion with colleagues regarding a relevant course to meet the requirements" of the member conduct committee, but that Rideout did not need to complete this course before he was readmitted. 

The Patel tweet sparked a call from Tory MSP Pam Gosal for the SNP to “root out and condemn toxic, racist political discourse”.

At First Minister’s Questions in March, the Lothians representative said: “Such comments have no place in society, let alone in political debate.

“I welcome that the SNP has taken quick action in suspending and launching an investigation into Mr Rideout's conduct.

“But racism is never an isolated incident. And this is something all parties must condemn. So will the First Minister assure [black, Asian, and minority ethnic] communities and Scotland and the broader public that her party will continue to root out and condemn toxic, racist political discourse.”

The First Minister said she was “committed” to taking concerns about racism within the SNP seriously and said this was “an issue for all parties”.

In a statement, Rideout said: "I shall undertake any training necessary to enable me to continue to play a part in the democracy of a political party which seems greatly in need of more  democracy.

"I hope to continue the work to inform SNP members and party policy on the need for a Scottish currency and other aspects of the economic case for independence as we approach the next few decisive years.

"I recognise my personal error in this case of a badly worded tweet, have learned lessons and have fully accepted the consequences.

"As someone who was expelled from South Africa for my anti-apartheid stance I have definitely been through worse."

Asked to confirm whether Rideout had been readmitted to the party, an SNP spokesperson said: “I can confirm that a complaint was upheld, and a sanction imposed.

“Beyond that, I'm not able to offer a running commentary on internal matters.”