NO data is available to back up LibDem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton's claim about an "overheard" conversation between SNP youth activists, The National understands.

The MSP said he heard young campaigners in Lerwick say "F this, can’t be bothered, let’s just mark them all as SNP and head back the office" as they stood near blocks of flats.

He tweeted: "Overheard conversation yesterday in Lerwick: @theSNP youth activists out canvassing, resting on a wall and looking at 3 blocks of flats. 'F this, can’t be bothered, let’s just mark them all as SNP and head back the office.' Memo to SNP: don’t rely on your data #Shetland".

READ MORE: Alex Cole-Hamilton under fire for 'awful smear' of SNP youth activists

But The National understands no canvas data was information which matched what Alex Cole-Hamilton claimed.

SNP staffer Chris Jones called the post an "awful smear" and said the youth activists had been "north of Brae" yesterday.

The SNP depute leader Keith Brown said the LibDems "are rattled".

"Tom Wills is a stand-out candidate and his ideas (on cutting transport costs and securing valuable green jobs) are striking a chord with islanders," Brown said. "That’s why more and more people are moving to the SNP, many for the first time. The Shetland Times survey suggests we’ve reduced the Lib Dems’ lead from 44 points in 2016 to just 4 points now." 

He continued: "The by-election looks to be close, so we’ll continue to promote Tom’s positive ideas and fresh thinking to improve everyday life for Shetlanders and we’ll leave the LibDems to snipe from the side-lines.”