SNP candidate for the West Kilbride ward, Stephen Brown, will not fight the council election, he has announced.

Last week it was made public that he and Joy Brahim would be the SNP’s candidates for the ward in May’s elections.

But now it is unclear whether the party will have two candidates.

Mr Brown said: “Regrettably I have withdrawn from running in the NAC campaign due to health reasons.

“I am aware that the other parties who can only get publicity by quoting me completely out of context, will attempt to make political capital from this.

“But I am in the unenviable position of taking the doctor’s instructions beyond any party political line.”

The announcement comes after Mr Brown quit Twitter following apparent remarks towards a supporter of keeping Scotland in the United Kingdom.

An SNP spokesperson said: “We have just been advised by Stephen that he is standing down for health reasons, and we wish him well in his recovery.

“It will be for his local branch to consider whether it wishes to fill this vacancy.”

Before Mr Brown’s announcement, Conservative candidate Todd Ferguson was critical of Mr Brown for ‘telling a pro-union voter on Twitter he’ll need to emigrate as “we will need the space for all the civic minded Europeans’.”

Todd said: “I am deeply troubled by the comments Mr Brown made recently. They are intentionally divisive and threaten to undermine West Kilbride’s community cohesion.”

Conservative Jamie Greene MSP said: “Unfortunately, this conduct is not limited to Mr Brown, we’re seeing these extreme views echoed by SNP officials across Scotland.”

Mr Brown insisted the Conservatives were carrying out ‘desperate minority party tactics’

He added: “Fortunately, I think the people of West Kilbride are a little more intelligent than to fall for these ludicrous accusations.”