LEADER of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson has stressed the party’s candidates for next week’s local authority election will focus on local issues.

East Lothian residents will go to the polls in less than a week as they prepare to elect 22 councillors.

Ten of the existing 23 councillors are standing down, meaning the new council will have a very different look.

Candidates from all parties have been canvassing throughout the six wards in a bid to secure vital votes and Ms Davidson was in North Berwick earlier today (Friday) giving her support to the East Lothian Conservative candidates.

The party currently has three councillors – Ludovic Broun-Lindsay, Tim Day and Michael Veitch – but all three will step down ahead of the election on Thursday (May 4).

Seven Conservative candidates have been put up across the six wards as the party looks to once again be involved in the decision-making in East Lothian Council.

Ms Davidson said: “What is really important is you have got people who will prioritise the needs of the local area, the local services, and will not always make the priority a constitutional issue like independence.

“I think that politics is always about priorities.

“We know that, for example, the SNP, every single one of their members, their candidates, at every level of government, they are tied by their constitution.

“Their very first priority is always fighting for independence – ours is not.

“Ours is to make sure the priority is to the local area and to the local services.”

Ms Davidson was on the town’s busy High Street along with the party’s candidates as the race for the election enters the final straight.

The Edinburgh Central MSP is no stranger to the county and regularly heads to East Lothian to walk her dog.

She told the Courier she appreciated the challenges facing East Lothian in terms of housing developments and infrastructure.

She said: “I completely understand why people would want to come to settle, to live and to make their home in East Lothian because it has got such a great quality of life.

“It only keeps having a great quality of life if you keep having the service provision, that you have the infrastructure that you need, that you have jobs that you need and you are able to absorb it.

“The Conservative candidates we have got here that are standing for council want to make sure that as we look at planning decisions in the round that we make sensible decisions that we are able to integrate with the communities, that are already established here and crucially are able to support those communities with services that we need.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and Willie Rennie, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, have also visited the county in recent weeks.