A Tory MSP has called on voters to “back anyone but the SNP” and support other unionist parties in order to fend off a second independence referendum.
Murdo Fraser, the finance spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives urged Scots in the upcoming council elections to vote for Unionist parties - after voting Conservative - in order to damage to the SNP.
Scotland’s council elections - held on 4 May 2017 - operate a preferential voting system, in which electors rank the candidates in order of numerical preference.
In a signed letter to voters seen by The Sunday Herald, Mr Fraser does not state which parties he believes voters should support but those that favour the Union are Labour, the Lib Dems and UKIP.
The list MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife hopes the nationalists suffer a setback to Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to hold a second referendum.
Mr Fraser, the MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife region, also talked about the need to “send a message to Nicola Sturgeon” in his letter to his voters.
He said: “Whilst local issues are always important, overshadowing this election is Nicola Sturgeon’s irresponsible threat of a second independence referendum. This is your chance to send her a message.
“Every advance for the SNP at these local elections will be taken as an endorsement of a second referendum.
“Remember this is a preference voting system with no wasted or tactical votes.
“To stop the SNP use your first vote 1 to back the Scottish Conservatives and subsequent votes (2,3 etc) to back anyone but the SNP.”
He adds: “Don’t give Nicola Sturgeon’s plans a boost by voting the SNP back into power in Fife” – reiterating that local elections are a chance to deliver a verdict on Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to pursue indyref2.
Earlier this week Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie claimed voters were “spitting mad” over plans to hold a second independence referendum, said as he launched the party’s local elections campaign.
Lib Dem councillors have pledged to put local issues first and avoid the constitutional debate.
The Scottish Conservative Party, under Ruth Davidson, have been criticised by rivals for framing the upcoming local elections as a referendum on a referendum.
SNP MP Peter Grant said that he had received a leaflet from his local Conservative candidate made no fewer than five mentions of independence. A party spokesman told the Scotsman: “The Tories are intent on playing politics, but the council elections are about local communities and local services.
“Every SNP vote will be a vote to protect the vital services we all depend on.
“All our candidates are dedicated local campaigners and believe passionately in protecting local services from the worst of Tory cuts.”