The Conservatives have pointed to their vote share in by-elections across Scotland in 2018 as proof the party is gaining ground on the SNP.
The party said that of 10 local authority votes held this year, it had received 32.6 per cent of the vote compared to 32.1 per cent for the SNP and 14.2 per cent for Labour.
But the Nationalists laughed off the claims, claiming the analysis was “embarrassing” and pointing to SNP successes at the last council elections in 2017.
Policy co-odinator Donald Cameron said the results showed Scotland was ready to elect Ruth Davidson as First Minister in 2021.
Mr Cameron said: “This isn’t based on opinion surveys or voter intentions – these are actual votes cast in actual elections.
“They show Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives were the most popular party in Scotland, and that leaves us in good shape to make her First Minister in 2021.
“The results across 2018 also prove again it’s a two-horse race. Labour are way back, and completely incapable of standing up to the nationalists.
“It’s also proof that the Holyrood election wasn’t a flash in the pan. Scots are now putting their faith in Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives to prioritise Scotland’s place in the UK and take on the SNP.”
But SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “This so-called ‘analysis’ is frankly embarrassing and I’m surprised Donald Cameron put his name to it.
“Back in the real world, the SNP comprehensively won the last council elections – and just last year the Tories were a distant second as the SNP won a majority of Westminster seats.
“This desperate attempt to spin council by-election results can’t gloss over recent polling that points to losses at Holyrood and Westminster for Ruth Davidson’s Tories.
“With the incompetence of the Tory party on show for all to see, more and more people will continue to put their trust in the SNP to fight for what’s best for Scotland’s future.”