The first salvoes have been fired as the battle for Stirling Council gets underway.
The SNP and the Conservatives clashed this week following the announcement that a total of 56 candidates will be standing in May 5 poll, with the SNP fielding 14 and the Conservatives 11.
Stirling MP Alyn Smith said: “Boris Johnson is a busted flush and the Stirling Tories know it; they’re not even standing enough candidates to win the local council elections.
“Just like their Westminster colleagues, they lack the ambition, positivity and vision the people of Stirling deserve from their local government.
‘Stirling SNP are standing two candidates in every ward, to win an outright majority and keep our pandemic recovery firmly on track.
“We’ll get on with the job of delivering quality public services and support for local businesses and households – the Tories can explain on the doorsteps their abysmal handling of Brexit, lockdown parties and the cost of living crisis.’
Pointing to the previous SNP-Labour administration’s bin collection charges, Conservative leader Neil Benny described them as “an albatross around every SNP candidates’ underqualified neck.”
He said: “The SNP seem to think that people in Stirling are stupid and don’t understand the electoral system. Councils benefit from a collegiate approach, not a one-party dictatorship.
“We are fielding high-quality candidates. People who have run businesses and social enterprises.
“Passionate and committed people who will put Stirling first from a range of backgrounds.
“The worst outcome possible for Stirling would be for this mediocre SNP bunch to be in control of your council, a truly terrifying thought.”
But Labor group leader Chris Kane said: “I know of people from all ends of the political spectrum who won’t run for elected office because of character attacks which is why it is disappointing to read comments like this from local politicians who should know better .
“Since 2007 no one party has had a majority on Stirling Council which tells me voters regard politicians having to work together on local issues as a positive thing.
“Stirling Labor councilors will address the cost of living crisis, deliver quality local services, an education recovery plan and more – you can read about our positive vision for Stirling at www.stirlinglabour.org.”
The council comprises 23 elected members across seven wards.
Twelve councilors are required to form a majority administration.
The SNP have put up two candidates in every ward for the election on Thursday May 5.
The Conservatives have 11 standing candidates, Labor and the Liberal Democrats seven each, and the Greens five.
There are also four Independents and one Alba candidate.
The Scottish Family Party have a candidate standing in each ward in the Stirling Council area.
Following the election of 2017 the ruling administration had been formed through a coalition between the SNP and Labour, who had eight and four councilors respectively.
The Conservatives formed the opposition with nine councilors –which was later cut to eight when one became Independent.
The SNP also lost a councilor from their group during the last council when one joined Alba.
Former Conservative councillors, Rob Davies in Forth and Endrick and Alastair Majury in Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, are standing again as Independents. Councilor Davies became Independent during the last council.
And SNP councillor Alasdair MacPherson will again be standing in Bannockburn, but this time as an Independent.
■ A total of 36 candidates are standing in Clackmannanshire for May’s council poll.
There are 18 council seats up for grabs across five council wards: Clackmannanshire West, North, Central, South and East.
The SNP are putting up nine candidates, Labor eight, the Conservatives six, Greens five, Lib Dems three, Independent three and Alba two.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.