THE Scottish Tory spokesperson for local government has demanded that the Scottish Labour party deselect one of its council candidates for supporting Scottish independence.

MSP Miles Briggs said the selection of Ross McKenzie, a candidate for Sighthill/Gorgie in Edinburgh, “flies in the face” of claims from Anas Sarwar that Scottish Labour was “pro-UK”.

Sarwar has previously said that his party would not “pretend we believe in something we don’t” and that Labour candidates are required to be pro-Union.

Mckenzie is a Labour candidate for the Sighthill/Gorgie ward, where half of the current councillors are SNP, and has previously described himself on Twitter as a “Yes Voter” and called for the Scottish Parliament to have the power to hold a referendum.

In 2019 he tweeted: “A lot of us voted Yes, and would do so again, but we need these ideas to get some support. If Leithers won’t give it, who will?”

He has also been critical of the co-operation between Labour and Tory councillors in Aberdeen, describing their coalition as a “disgrace”.

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McKenzie is not the only Labour candidate who has displayed support for the Yes movement.

Richard Parker, candidate for Corstorphine/Murrayfield in Edinburgh, shared a speech by Jim Sillars, former deputy leader of the SNP in the lead up to the 2014 referendum, and published an image asking people to vote Yes and then support Labour in 2016.

Another example is Katrina Faccenda, who is a candidate for Leith, and has also tweeted support for Holyrood to have the competency to hold a second independence referendum.

Briggs has called for any pro-independence Labour candidates to be “ditched” by the party.

He told The Scotsman: “This flies in the face of Anas Sarwar promising that all Labour council candidates would be pro-UK. Given that pledge and these revelations, he must ditch any candidate who supports independence.

“You simply cannot trust Labour to stand up to the SNP. They’ve been in coalition with the nationalists in six councils across Scotland since 2017.

“They are now ashamed of being a pro-UK party and have gone backwards in every election since devolution.

“Unlike Labour, the Scottish Conservatives have the strength to stand up to the SNP and deliver on voters' local priorities.”

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Commenting on McKenzie’s selection, SNP councillor for Sighthill/Gorgie Catherine Fullerton said: “I was hoping that Ross McKenzie and I would be able to work together for our constituents if both elected. Knowing he is pro-independence we will indeed have a great deal in common."

On what this would say about Sarwar's leadership if McKenzie is dropped, she added: "This won’t be the first time a candidate has been pulled for supporting another referendum. Hollie Cameron in 2021. What kind of leader is this man that doesn’t allow Labour Party faithfuls to stand for office because they want Scotland to choose their own future?"

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “Every Scottish Labour candidate at the elections in May is committed to representing the aims and values of the Scottish Labour Party – a party which believes Scotland belongs in a renewed and reformed United Kingdom.

“It is frankly laughable that the Tories claim to be the party of the Union.

“It is the callousness and incompetence of the Tories that does the most damage to the fabric of the UK.

“Only Scottish Labour is committed to opposing the divisive politics of the SNP and Tories and securing Scotland’s place in a renewed UK.”

A number of candidates in the upcoming council elections have been the subject of criticism for controversial stances.

Scottish Labour have been scrutinised for selecting a candidate who had been a former Grand Master of the Orange Order.

Meanwhile, the Tories have been slated for selecting Jamie Robertson, a candidate who subscribed to a YouTube channel dedicated to former Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke,] on Youtube. However, following a report in The National, the candidate was dropped.