Conservatives gunning for Salmond's seat after success in Aberdeenshire

Ms Davidson said: "I think you have seen in both language and design, the SNP attempt to assimilate the party for Scotland and Scotland for the party".

The share of the first preference vote is, in fact, exactly the same as it was five years ago, when the last round of local elections was held.

The full results of last week's Scottish council election have been published - showing the SNP won 32% of the first preference votes.

Similarly, Labour would be attacked by the SNP if local politicians struck up partnerships with the Conservatives.

The First Minister desperately played down the threat posed by Ruth Davidson's Tories, after they achieved their best local election results in generations.

Former first minister Mr Salmond is also facing a fight for his political survival after the Tories outpolled the SNP in his Gordon seat.

Scottish Conservative candidate Kirstene Hair has launched the party's bid to win Angus on June 8 using last week's council election results in the region as a springboard for further gains. Although that marked the first time that the SNP had managed to outpoll Labour in local elections, the outcome was, in truth, widely regarded as a disappointment for the nationalists.

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On May 4th, vote Scottish Labour.

Launching her party's general election campaign in Edinburgh yesterday, Ms Davidson said: "We're going to be fighting bloody hard in seats that we perhaps haven't targeted before at a general election".

She added: "This is absolutely game on".

"There are a lot of people who are pretty angry actually at the approach that the SNP have taken in the past couple of years".

"It's not and it's really got up people's noses and there's a real desire particularly from people who voted both Remain and No to stay in the UK. Voting Tory doesn't send a message to Nicola Sturgeon - it sends Theresa May back to Downing Street".

The SNP remains the largest party in local government with 431 councillors voted in, up slightly from its total of 425 in 2012.

Ms Sturgeon said: "That is utter nonsense!"

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"It's clearer now than ever before that only Labour can defeat the SNP in vast swathes of Scotland".

Over one in ten votes on Thursday were cast for independent candidates - in the Highlands and the Islands in particular, council elections are often still genuinely local rather than partisan battles.

"So they put that issue centre stage and they lost the election".

"We will lead the fightback against the SNP right across Scotland and we're going to fight on behalf of everyone".

Nicola Sturgeon will be in Perth on Monday to tell voters the SNP will "deliver for Scotland".

Ms Davidson said: "We won the local government election in Gordon, beating the SNP into second place".

Last week the UK Prime Minister accused the European Union of interfering in the upcoming UK General Elections on 8 June, causing more tensions with the 27 member block and drawing criticism for provoking what some analysts fear could be a "no deal Brexit" situation.

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"The Tories are the party of the "rape clause" and hard Brexit".

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