THE SNP have called on people across Scotland to lock the Tories out of power at the election on May 5, as the one-week countdown until polls open begins.

Leader Nicola Sturgeon warned that the cost-of-living ­crisis has been neglected by Douglas Ross’s Tory party – who have been too busy ­defending Boris ­Johnson and Rishi Sunak since receiving their fines from the Metropolitan Police.

Nicola Sturgeon said: “These are the most important ­local elections in the ­history of devolution, where ­people in Scotland have the opportunity to lock the Tories out of council chambers across the country.

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“The cost-of-living crisis means ­families and households across ­Scotland are terrified to open their bills, yet the Tories have neglected the crisis under their noses – instead spending their time defending their partying bosses at Westminster.

“Their woeful inaction is unforgivable – and people across Scotland can make that clear at this election.

“Only the SNP has the ambition to take our nation forward while other parties fight over second place, ­clinging to a broken and corrupt Westminster system that does not work for Scotland.

“Vote SNP on May 5 to lock the Tories out of power and elect hard-working SNP councillors to build that better nation.”

Sturgeon was speaking after it was revealed the extent to which Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s stock has fallen following revelations earlier this month about his wife’s tax status.

Half of the ­public now have a lower opinion of Sunak than they did a year ago, a poll has found.

The Chancellor’s handling of the cost-of-living crisis and stories about his wife’s ­non-domiciled tax status have fuelled a rapid fall in Sunak’s popularity, the survey by Ipsos discovered.

Not only did 51% of people say they felt less positively towards him now than a year ago, more than two in five Conservative voters said the same thing, while only 10% felt more positive about him.

Gideon Skinner, head of ­political research at Ipsos, said: “The ­Chancellor’s public satisfaction ­ratings have fallen some way from their heights earlier in the pandemic.

“While this trend started last year, this research suggests that at the ­moment more topical issues are ­casting a cloud over the public’s views, particularly the cost of ­living, but also stories about his wife’s tax arrangements and the impact of the fines for Downing Street parties breaking lockdown restrictions.”

Almost two-thirds of those who said they had a lower opinion of ­Sunak told Ipsos this was due to his handling of the cost-of-living crisis, while 61% cited stories about his wife’s tax arrangements.

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Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, was revealed earlier in April to be claiming non-dom status, meaning she did not pay tax on foreign earnings in the UK. She has since announced she will pay UK tax on her foreign ­income, potentially amounting to millions of pounds.

Around half of those who had a lower opinion of Sunak cited partygate, identifying both his support for Boris Johnson during the scandal and the fact that the Chancellor himself received a fine for breaking lockdown laws.

However, the poll of 1038 adults found the public was still split on whether Sunak was doing a good job.