Scotland politics

Tory manifesto opposes 'unwanted' indyref

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Media captionConservative Ruth Davidson says her party's local election pitch is about giving power back to the people.

The Scottish Conservatives have put opposition to a second independence referendum at the heart of their local government election campaign.

Leader Ruth Davidson called on voters to send a message to the SNP on independence as she unveiled the party's manifesto in Edinburgh.

The manifesto also seeks to empower councils with extra powers and elected provosts in some areas.

And it sets out plans to reverse what it calls "SNP centralisation".

Ms Davidson said the council elections on 4 May were an opportunity for people "to make clear the priorities they want in Scotland".

She said: "It is to ensure we have local councils focused on your school and your local services, not on a divisive referendum campaign most people don't want.

"We have two key points to make at this election. After 10 years of SNP centralisation, we want to make the case for localism - so decisions are put back in the hands of your local community.

"And, after a decade of constitutional division, we want to send a message to the SNP: we don't want your unwanted independence referendum.

"Every Scottish Conservative councillor who is elected on 4 May will demand nothing less."

Engines of growth

The party's local government spokesman Graham Simpson claimed that Scotland was "fast becoming one of the most centralised countries in the western world".

He added: "The SNP government reserves for itself the right to make the vast majority of economic decisions, so local authorities have been relegated to mere service providers.

"We need to empower councils and give them a renewed sense of meaning and purpose. They can and must be the engines of growth".

Scottish Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Greens have already published their manifestos, with the SNP due to unveil theirs later this week.

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