THE SNP have urged the Tories to retract their "sinister" demand for a pro-indy Labour candidate to be de-selected.

Miles Briggs, the Tory spokesperson for local government, said the selection of Ross McKenzie in Edinburgh, “flies in the face” of claims from Anas Sarwar that Scottish Labour was “pro-UK”.

Sarwar has previously said that his party would not “pretend we believe in something we don’t” and that Labour candidates are required to be pro-Union.

But the SNP have told the Tories their own party is "swarmed with bigoted candidates" and they should focus on that instead of telling others what to do in their campaigns.

MSP Karen Adam said the demand must be retracted by leader Douglas Ross.

She said: “This sinister demand is absolutely disgraceful and must be recalled by Douglas Ross immediately.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar called to drop pro-independence council candidates by Tories

“Not only are the Scottish Tories completely out of touch with Scots, who elected a majority of pro-independence MSPs at the election last year, but they want to erase the idea that people can support independence at all.

“Meanwhile, Douglas Ross turns a blind eye to candidates making comments that are racist, anti-immigrant, misogynistic and bigoted things on social media. It says a lot about the Tory leader’s priorities that he’s determined to shut down anyone who has a different view on independence to him.

“A better Scotland is possible - one free from Tory governments that Scotland didn’t vote for. A vote for the SNP on May 5 is a vote for a positive, independent vision for a better Scotland.”

Mckenzie is a Labour candidate for the Sighthill/Gorgie ward, where half of the current councillors are SNP, and has previously described himself on Twitter as a “Yes Voter” and called for the Scottish Parliament to have the power to hold a referendum. 

In 2019 he tweeted: “A lot of us voted Yes, and would do so again, but we need these ideas to get some support. If Leithers won’t give it, who will?”

And he is not the only Labour candidate who has displayed support for the Yes movement.

Richard Parker, candidate for Corstorphine/Murrayfield in Edinburgh, shared a speech by Jim Sillars, former deputy leader of the SNP, in the lead up to the 2014 referendum and published an image asking people to vote Yes and then support Labour in 2016.

Briggs has called for any pro-independence Labour candidates to be “ditched” by the party.