A Conservative councillor who was banned from the classroom has attacked the SNP over teacher shortages.
Kathleen Leslie, who sits on Fife Council, called Nicola Sturgeon a “drooling hag” and a “wee fish wife” in a series of abusive posts on social media during the 2014 referendum campaign.
The former Dunfermline teacher admitted last month her fitness to teach was impaired and agreed to be struck off the register by the General Teaching Council.
In an article for the Conservative Home website titled “the SNP is to blame for the shortage of Scottish teachers”, she asked: “Where are all the teachers?”
“Perhaps a decade of being subjected to an ongoing crisis in implementation of Curriculum for Excellence (and) National Qualifications that are still plagued by assessment criteria problems might explain their departure.”
She said the SNP’s “absolute obsession with independence” had contributed to the recruitment crisis, adding: “I cannot help but wonder how, in a country with a once globally renowned education system, we seem to have slipped in international standing and failed to successfully recruit and retain teachers.”
The irony of a struck-off teacher criticising teacher shortages was not lost on Twitter.
One SNP councillor said: “You couldn’t make it up.”
Another user said: “So there’s a shortage and she still wasn’t good enough to be let near a class room? Her opinion counts for precisely nothing.”
An SNP spokesman said: “Ms Leslie’s abusive and deeply offensive comments have seen her struck off and deemed unfit to be a teacher – and the fact she still holds office as a Tory councillor speaks volumes.
“She holds views that have become a hallmark of the intolerant and unacceptable face of the Tories in Scotland and it is time Ruth Davidson took responsibility for the ugly rhetoric in her party.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said Ms Leslie apologised for her “unacceptable comments when they first came to light”.
“It is now time the SNP dealt with the very real problems facing classrooms across Scotland, all of which have happened under their watch,” he said.
John Swinney, the Education Secretary, admitted in August there were about 700 teacher vacancies across Scotland.
In his conference speech last week, he announced a £20,000 “golden hello” to career changers moving into teaching certain subjects, including maths and science.