Conservative councillor Ryan Houghton has withdrawn his bid to become co-leader of Aberdeen City Council.
Mr Houghton, 29, was named leader of Aberdeen Conservatives earlier this week and had been expected to be named council co-leader.
Previous leader Douglas Lumsden is to step down after being elected as an MSP last week.
However, Mr Houghton’s nomination had proved controversial because of comments he previously made regarding Muslims, homosexuality and the Holocaust.
The George Street and Harbour councillor, who is also Aberdeen City Council business manager, has now withdrawn his nomination to become co-leader to allow the council to “focus…on the recovery of Aberdeen” following the coronavirus pandemic.
“Over the last 24 hours I’ve been incredibly grateful for the messages of support and congratulations from across Aberdeen,” Mr Houghton said.
“However, it is now clear to me that my nomination as co-leader has become a political football between parties and a distraction from the priorities which we are elected to serve the public working towards.
“This is despite being cleared by a QC-led investigation which reviewed all the facts, and the totality of my record of public service including working with and serving all communities in Aberdeen.
“Therefore I am withdrawing my nomination for co-leader.
“The focus of all politicians should be on the recovery of Aberdeen following the Covid-19 pandemic and this requires trust in the institutions of our city.
“There will be an urgent business committee on Thursday where the administration will bring forward its proposals for the council’s committee places, following the election of Douglas Lumsden to the Scottish Parliament.”
Mr Houghton, an RAF veteran who served in Afghanistan, was suspended from the Conservatives in late 2019 after his remarks – which were made a number of years ago – came to light.
As a result, the party withdrew its support for his campaign to become Aberdeen North MP at that year’s general election.
He was readmitted to the party following an investigation last year.
Aberdeen Labour Leader, councillor Jenny Laing said: “The Aberdeen Labour Group supports the decision Councillor Houghton has taken and agrees that the city’s socio-economic recovery from Covid-19 must come above all else.”
Opposition SNP group leader Alex Nicoll said: “I am pleased that given the public outcry the administration have seen sense and will appoint someone more suitable to lead our council.”