Voters face straightforward choice between SNP and Tories - Nicola Sturgeon


The results of last week's council polls are expected to give added momentum to candidates looking for votes in the general election.

As the only seat they've any serious hope of recapturing Labour will be desperate for the Tories to flop there today.

Former council leader Frank McAveety held on to his seat in Shettleston but two other Labour seats were lost to SNP candidates Laura Doherty and Michelle Ferns and 20-year-old Conservative Thomas Kerr.

Labour slipped from power in the first three wards declared, losing two seats to the SNP, while the Conservatives doubled their previous tally to two and the Greens also gained.

But the local results will give the SNP free info on whether they should worry in Pete Wishart's Perth seat, Callum McCaig's constituency of Aberdeen South or indeed Kirsten Oswald's East Renfrewshire perch.

Party insiders said the Scottish Conservatives leader was "parking her tanks on Alex Salmond's lawn" after ousting an SNP councillor in Inverurie. On average the party's share of the vote has been up ten points on 2012 in such contests.

Writing in the Scotsman newspaper, he said: "While the party's vote was up on 2012 in much of the West of Scotland, including by eight points in Glasgow, it was sharply down in many of its traditional strongholds in the north-east".

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will urge Scots to "bring the SNP down to size" on 8 June. They've put up former Better Together boss Blair McDougall at the general election there in an effort to out-unionist the Conservative candidate.

"There are 77 members of North Lanarkshire council, the SNP have 33, so numerically they are not in a position to form an administration so I will meet with senior colleagues, we'll sit down and look at the all the options while ruling nothing in and nothing out".

"It is very easy for [Theresa May] to talk the talk and act tough, but when she's asked to walk the walk, I think there's going to be problems", he told the BBC.

Ms Davidson insisted then: "We won the local government election is Gordon this week, beating the SNP into second place".

Mr Rowley said: "Labour's approach is clear and consistent: we will categorically refuse to do any deal with another party if it would result in further austerity being imposed on local communities". The party won 431 seats, 155 more than their nearest rivals, the Conservatives.

Last week's results followed a campaign by the Tories focused on opposition to a second referendum - a message they will carry through their General Election campaign in the weeks ahead.

"In places such as Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, East Lothian, Inverclyde, Fife and elsewhere, the Tories are in a distant third place".

He said: "The SNP got 32% of the Scotland-wide vote, well below what it got in the 2011, 2015 or 2016 elections".