A SCOTLAND-wide tactical voting bid to oust pro-independence parties has been branded “desperate and misleading” by the Scottish Greens.

Scotland in Union are urging voters to back Scotland’s pro-Union parties - Tories, Labour, LibDems and some independent candidates - instead of the SNP, Greens and Alba.

The Unionist campaign group have said they are planning a “considerable push” to convince voters to give their vote to only pro-UK candidates in the final two weeks of the campaign.

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Fronted by former Labour MP Pamela Nash, the group claimed that “pro-separation councillors will be fixated on Nicola Sturgeon’s push for an unwanted and divisive second referendum on leaving the UK”.

However, the Greens hit back at the misleading tactical voting bid - stating that the local elections have “absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the new referendum Bill” which will be laid in the Scottish Parliament.

The party also slammed Nash as “pathetic” for telling the public to vote Tory when the Prime Minister is currently engulfed in the partygate scandal.

Meanwhile, Alba, who are urging voters to back pro-indy candidates, said unionist parties were "ganging up to undermine the cause of independence". 

Nash, announcing the ramping up of the “Vote 1,2,3 to stop the SNP” campaign, criticised the SNP for making cuts to council budgets and the impact on services.

The National: Nash, a former Labour MP, is chief executive of Scotland in UnionNash, a former Labour MP, is chief executive of Scotland in Union

She added: “We don’t need any more SNP or Green councillors who spend time and resources on preparing for an unwanted and divisive second referendum, while our public services are suffering.

“If you want to prioritise your local services, then we urge you to use your votes to stop the nationalists.

“At these council elections, we encourage Scots to vote for all the pro-UK candidates on their ballot paper in their order of preference, and leave the boxes for the SNP and their nationalist friends blank.”

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However, the Scottish Greens fired back and said that the local elections are about “communities not the constitution”.

A spokesperson said: “This is desperate, turgid stuff from Scotland in Union and an attempt to deliberately mislead voters.

“The election on May 5th will have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the new referendum bill being brought to the Scottish Parliament with Greens in government, and to see a former Labour MP urging people to vote Tory during the cost of living crisis and while the Prime Minister is being fined for partying during lockdown is pathetic.

“This election is about communities not the constitution, and the more Labour and the Tories join forces to obsess about independence the more they reveal they have nothing to offer them.

The National: A spokesperson for the Greens branded the pro-UK campaign "desperate"A spokesperson for the Greens branded the pro-UK campaign "desperate"

“Greens in government have secured record funding for recycling, active travel and nature restoration and the biggest investment in teacher recruitment in 15 years.

“It will be councils that deliver these commitments and it’s clear we need more Scottish Greens councillors rather than hardline unionists who only work towards things they have absolutely no influence on. That can only happen if voters give the Scottish Greens their first preference vote in two weeks’ time.”

SNP MSP Michelle Thomson said: "People in Scotland deserve elected councillors who will have a razor sharp focus on supporting them through the current Tory cost of living crisis – not another five years of council administrations with absentee and extremist councillors whose only qualification for the job is wanting to keep Westminster control of Scotland.

“Only by voting SNP on 5 May can people have councillors focused on protecting them from the worst excesses of a cost of living crisis made worse by Westminster’s excesses and games."

The National: Thomson also criticised Scotland in Union's campaignThomson also criticised Scotland in Union's campaign

Alba leader Salmond has been urging voters to back pro-independence candidates at the local elections, putting Alba first, and other pro-candidates afterwards.

He told the National: “An Independence majority, in as many councils as possible, could be of key importance in implementing an Independence referendum or other electoral test. It would be folly to leave the field open to unionists. Thus it is better for Independence supporters to work together.

“ALBA is the Independence priority party and we need Independence majorities in Councils to help deliver Independence. This positive and constructive approach will ensure that we do just that.

“The unionist parties are clearly ganging up to try to use the result of this election to undermine the cause of Scottish independence, this is all the more reason to make sure Alba Councillors are elected to help form pro independence administrations across Scotland.“ 

The SNP have been contacted for comment.

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It comes as SNP MP Pete Wishart urged voters to “vote until you boak” by ranking all candidates on their ballot papers.

Wishart, that party’s longest serving MP, broke party ranks to state that the best way to get rid of Unionist councillors is to rank them last.

In the local election, the Single Transferable Vote system is used, where voters can rank candidates in order by number - and can vote for as many or as few as they like.