A COUNCILLOR who was removed from the General Teaching Register after calling Nicola Sturgeon “Wee Jimmy Krankie” and a “drooling hag” has been appointed convener of Fife Council's education scrutiny committee.

Conservative Kathleen Leslie was voted into the position at a meeting on Tuesday which also saw Dunfermline Central Liberal Democrat councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder selected as vice-convener, both on votes of eight votes to seven.

Before the vote, SNP councillor Alycia Hayes had questioned Cllr Leslie's nomination, asking if it was "competent that a councillor suspended by the General Teaching Council for two years is an appropriate person to be nominated as convener of this committee".

However, head of legal and democratic services, Lindsay Thompson, ruled out the objection.

"I don't think it is an appropriate point of order. Points of order should be restricted to procedural irregularity. As an elected councillor, there is no bar to Councillor Leslie being nominated for any particular post."

As reported previously by the Press, Cllr Leslie, who worked at Woodmill High School, wrote a series of offensive and inappropriate tweets about the First Minister ahead of the independence referendum in 2014.

At the time, she was blasted by opposition parties for the tweets and “reminded of her responsibilities” by bosses in the Scottish Conservative party.

In 2017, the General Teaching Council for Scotland confirmed that Cllr Leslie agreed to remove herself from the register following an investigation into “offensive comments” made while she was employed by Fife Council.

She was banned from applying to return to teaching for two years.

Following Tuesday's meeting, SNP Group education spokesperson, Cllr Craig Walker, slammed the decision.

"It really beggars believe that the so-called Labour minority administration would support this appointment," he said. "It is entirely inappropriate that someone who had been suspended by the General Teaching Council should now head up the council's education scrutiny committee.

"However, such is the Labour Party in Fife's desperation to retain power that they are willing to support what most voters will find unpalatable.

"After 27 votes where the Tories and the Lib Dems have voted with them to defeat the SNP, Labour should now give up the insulting premise that they are a minority administration and admit, as everyone can see clearly, that this is a coalition administration and despite their pre-election promises, they are more than happy to work with, and support, the Tories."

Ms Leslie defended her selection for the position.

"For the past five years, I have been a member of the education and children's services sub-committee and have actively taken part in debate and scrutiny of council policies on education," she said.

"I brought motions to council calling for change to Primary 1 deferral policy and called for a halt to SNSA testing. I have also been vocal around the need for a swimming policy for all children and spoke against plans for a shared headship model being introduced."

"Most recently, the SNP's 'sex census' was about to be rolled out in Fife and I was active in scrutinising what would be asked, how that data would be handled, and if it was appropriate."

"Scrutiny is something I have seen as part of my role as an opposition councillor for the past five years so I see this as a continuation of that.

"I would like to stress that I am willing to work cross-party to see that areas of concern within education policy are scrutinised and therefore, would hope that councillors, including those from the SNP group, will be an active part of that process.

"SNP references to a 'coalition' are inaccurate. Fife has a Labour minority administration and as an opposition party we will hold them to account where necessary."