SNP election candidates in Inverclyde say they are seeking to boost diversity within the chamber after the group confirmed it is fielding more women than men for May’s poll.

Twelve candidates will be aiming to secure seats across the local authority area with a mixture of old and new faces chapping doors.

And with seven women and five men making up the team, the group is hoping it can transform what is currently a male-dominated council. There are only three female councillors in Inverclyde, while there are 19 men.

Councillor Elizabeth Robertson, who is one of the current crop and leader of the SNP group, said it was exciting to have a seven/five candidate split in favour of women especially as no conscious effort was made to hit certain parameters.

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She said: “I think it is so important to have diversity in the chamber.

“When we have a gender balance, a diversity of views, experience, sexuality, all these different factors represented, it means we make policies with a wider perspective and wider viewpoints in mind.

“I’m really pleased we have a seven/five split with female and male candidates, particularly because it’s not like we used a mechanism. We didn’t go out there and say ‘we need this many female candidates’. We’re quite welcoming as a branch and the fact there’s been three female councillors over the past five years, plus more women in the Scottish Parliament, I think has played a part in more women being interested in politics.

“It feels like you can’t be what you can’t see sometimes, so having three of us there has been a great start to changing things, but it is only a start.”

Sandra Reynolds, who is a new candidate running in Inverclyde West, said she had always found the branch inclusive and hopes there can be more women representing people across the region.

The 65-year-old, who has most recently worked as a GP practice pharmacist, added: “I have been active with the branch for a number of years and I have always found it to be a very inclusive and supportive branch.

“I was encouraged to run as a candidate and it seemed like a good time because I’m nearing retirement age and I have been in public service roles all my life. I have changed roles a lot as well so I feel as if this puts me in a good position to be a candidate.

“I live in the area, I was brought up in the area, my three children live here.

“We definitely want to try and make Inverclyde Council more diverse and it’s really exciting we’ve got a great mix of candidates.”