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Party leaders step up campaign with one week to go till council vote

With a week to go till polling day in local government elections, political leaders are stepping up campaigning. (Rui Vieira/PA)
With a week to go till polling day in local government elections, political leaders are stepping up campaigning. (Rui Vieira/PA)

Party leaders across Scotland are stepping up campaigning as the countdown to the local government elections enters its final week.

Nicola Sturgeon urged Scots to use the upcoming council elections to “lock the Tories out” of power in town halls across the country.

The SNP leader and Scottish First Minister insisted that the ballot of May 5 would be the “most important local elections in the history of devolution”.

And with the cost of living having been a key issue on the campaign trail, Ms Sturgeon accused the Conservatives of having “neglected” this issue.

Nicola Sturgeon said next week’s council elections were the ‘most important’ since devolution (Michael Wachucik/PA)

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross however urged voters to reject Ms Sturgeon’s party at the ballot box next week, claiming that SNP-run councils “will run down local services and hike council tax”.

His comments came as Ms Sturgeon said “people in Scotland have the opportunity to lock the Tories out of council chambers across the country”.

The SNP leader said: “The cost-of-living crisis means families and households across Scotland are terrified to open their bills, yet the Tories have neglected the crisis under their noses – instead spending their time defending their partying bosses at Westminster.

“Their woeful inaction is unforgivable – and people across Scotland can make that clear at this election.”

She urged people to vote for her party to “lock the Tories out of power and elect hard-working SNP councillors to build that better nation”.

Mr Ross however argued voters should back his party to stop the SNP being in control of local councils – claiming a vote for parties such as Labour or the Liberal Democrats could see them form coalitions with Ms Sturgeon’s party in town halls across the country.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross claimed SNP-run authorities would ‘run down services and hike council tax’ (Jane Barlow/PA)

Mr Ross stated: “In just one week, voters across Scotland will have their say on who runs local services for the next five years.

“SNP-run councils will run down local services and hike council tax. They won’t stand up for their communities against the SNP Government in Holyrood.

“Labour and the Liberal Democrats will help them do it. They’re open to shady backroom deals to put the SNP into power.”

The Scottish Tory leader said: “In 2017, more than half of Scots ended up with SNP-run councils, despite the party receiving less than a third of the vote.

“That is because Labour chose to sign up to coalitions with the SNP in six councils, when they could have reached agreements with other parties to lock them out of office.

“A vote for Labour or the Lib Dems risks putting the SNP into power.

“Only Scottish Conservative councillors will refuse to do any deals with the SNP. Instead, we’ll work with other parties to stop the formation of nationalist administrations.

“We will be totally focused on improving local schools, fixing local roads and protecting local services.

“If voters want to lock the SNP out of power and elect councillors that will put their local priorities first, they need to vote for the Scottish Conservatives on May 5.”

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