Local election 2017: Scottish Tory candidate who called Nicola Sturgeon a 'drooling hag' wins seat in Fife

Kathleen Leslie was reprimanded by Scottish Conservative bosses but has beaten SNP and Labour to the seat on the town council

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A Scottish Tory candidate has won her seat in local elections despite having called Nicola Sturgeon a “drooling hag” and "wee fish wife".

Kathleen Leslie was heavily criticised when it emerged she had sent a string of venomous tweets about the SNP leader and her supporters in the run up to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

In a series of tweets she describe Ms Sturgeon as a “drooling hag”, a “wee fishwife”  and “a walking horror show” in 2013 before the MSP became First Minister, the Scottish Sun reported.

The Scottish Conservatives said they had “reminded her of her responsibilities” and she had apologised while the SNP described her comments as “spectacularly ill-judged and insulting”.

But despite the controversy she triumphed in the Fife Council elections, winning Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy.

Her win was part of the Scottish Tory resurgence which has played out over the last few hours.

They are on track to make large gains in Scotland’s 32 council areas, picking up seats from Paisley and Glasgow to Aberdeenshire. 

A spokesman for Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said: “It’s looking pretty good. But we are coming from an incredibly low base. 

“The increases look huge but we’re coming from a time when the party was in the doldrums.”

The election campaign in Scotland is being fought on very different lines to the rest of the UK.

Although the party’s national unpopularity has an impact on votes in the country, the election campaign has been framed as a battle over whether Scots want a second referendum on independence. 

Ms Sturgeon formally called for a new vote earlier this year, saying that the Brexit vote represented a “material change” in their circumstances within the union which are deemed to be worthy of triggering a new poll.

Labour has been caught in the middle of this with its Scottish branch at odds with Jeremy Corbyn’s team in London.

Mr Corbyn caused consternation in March when he said he was “absolutely fine” with a second referendum in direct contradiction to Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale who had previously ruled it out.

The party has lost overall control of Glasgow for the first time in 40 years after the SNP and Tories made major gains in the historically Labour city. 

The SNP has had its eye on Scotland’s largest city for quite some time after it voted for independence in 2014 and the party won all seven of its parliamentary seats in the 2015 general election. 

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