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An SNP local election candidate failed to declare his ownership of a Highland hotel
Nicola Sturgeon was today forced to back Frank Ross, the party's group leader in Edinburgh, as he was branded a "liability" by opponents.
But Tories lodged a formal complaint with watchdog the Standards Commission for Scotland, which has the power to suspend councillors.
Mr Ross is currently the depute leader of Edinburgh City Council and is standing for re-election in Corstorphine-Murrayfield.
He initially told the Herald newspaper he could not remember if he had informed officials that he bought the 11-bedroom property last October.
But later stated he would be submitting fresh paperwork on the Silverfjord Hotel in Kingussie – with the local authority confirming it had now been received.
Councillors are required to declare their financial interests under a strict code of conduct.
The Scottish First Minister was forced to back Frank Ross
Frank Ross is turning into a complete liability for the SNP
Labour MP Ian Murray
With the SNP on course to become the city's largest party on May 4, Mr Ross is poised to become council leader.
Public records show Mr Ross and his family set up Silverfjord Kingussie Ltd in February 2015.
Mr Ross, his wife and their son and daughter were the company's directors, with Mr Ross owning 82 per cent of the shares and the others owning six per cent each.
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The company later acquired the hotel with finance from RBS.
The revelations come just weeks after Mr Ross was criticised for suggested pro-Union parties called themselves "Scottish" only as a branding exercise to win votes.
Labour MP Ian Murray said: "Frank Ross is turning into a complete liability for the SNP.
"The SNP needs to deal with this fast, and Nicola Sturgeon needs to outline what steps she is going to take to discipline Frank Ross, or if he can stay as the SNP's candidate to lead Edinburgh City Council."
In a letter reporting Mr Ross to the Commission Tory MSP Miles Briggs called for an immediate investigation adding: "Many will wonder if they can trust Mr Ross given his failure to declare this significant interest."
The candidate was today absent from the SNP's local elections manifesto launch with Ms Sturgeon in Edinburgh after stating his elderly father had suddenly taken ill.
The First Minister said: "I know he is a person with local interests very much at heart and I know he will fight very hard with his colleagues in this campaign."
Asked if she considered him a liability, she said: "No, I don't."