The figures show that the SNP will be standing 176 more candidates than in 2007, including 4 additional SNP candidates in Falkirk, while Labour will be fielding 24 fewer, the Tories 17 fewer and the Lib Dems an astonishing 84 fewer. There are also 135 less independents standing.
The publication follows revelations from one 87-year-old Tory candidate that he only agreed to stand for the Party – in a seat 60 miles from his home – on the condition that he would not win and would not have to do any campaigning. He also suggested this was the Tory strategy elsewhere in Scotland.
Commenting on the figures, SNP Local Government Campaign Director Derek Mackay MSP said:
“These figures demonstrate how little confidence the three main opposition parties have in their new leaders.
“Since the elections last year, all three of them have promised to listen to the voters and come back with a new prospectus – yet the fact they’re fielding fewer candidates suggests they expect to go backwards.
“And just this week a Tory candidate let slip that he only agreed to stand on the condition that he definitely wouldn’t win and wouldn’t do any campaigning.
“By contrast, SNP candidates are working hard the length and breadth of the country to secure gains everywhere.
“We are delivering our message that SNP Councils across the country will deliver a fairer deal for families, including continuing the Council Tax freeze an delivering more free and flexible nursery hours.”
87-year-old Les Mason, Conservative candidate in North, West and Central Sutherland Ward of the Highland Council area, was quoted in a Press Association release last week as saying:
“Someone in Edinburgh at the top of the party phoned me up and asked if I would like to help them out. I emphasised I would – but only if they could guarantee that I would not win.
“I did offer to go up to North, West and Central Sutherland but the party bosses said there was no need to.
“They told me to do nothing and that was it. All they wanted was my name on the ballot paper to reduce the chances of the SNP getting in.
“That is why people like me have been asked to stand, not because we have any hope of winning but to split the vote and reduce the chance of the SNP getting in.
That is the Tory strategy.”