A North Coast councillor who launched his bid for Parliament has become involved in a political spat with Cunninghame North MSP after announcing his campaign.

Conservative councillor Todd Ferguson launched his campaign for the forthcoming General Election to take place in 2024, or early 2025, by  slamming the state of roads, local employment opportunities, and police resourcing.

However, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson responded on his own website: "These are indeed all important issues to people in North Ayrshire and across Scotland, Transportation, Education, Housing, Health and Police are all in fact devolved to the Scottish Parliament."

In a press release launching his campaign, Mr Ferguson says he is "delighted" to have been selected as the candidate for an area he is born in and an area that he still calls home.

In 2017, he was elected as a councillor for the West Kilbride and Dalry ward, and in 2022 he was successfully re-elected for the newly established North Coast ward.

Mr Ferguson claimed he would be a strong voice for North Ayrshire and Arran, and claimed he is the only candidate who can stop the SNP and ensure the area has a MP that will focus on people's real priorities.

Mr Ferguson said: "The General Election will offer voters in North Ayrshire and Arran the chance to elect a MP fully focused on the issues that matter to them, rather than an SNP MP who will only relentlessly be pushing for another independence referendum.

"The state of our roads, local employment opportunities, what their children are being taught, sensible housing strategies, getting an appointment with their GP, and more police on the beat. 

"These are the concerns that people raise with me. These are the issues that really matter to residents."  

"As the MP for North Ayrshire and Arran I will ensure that I represent the the views of local people.

“Until the next election, I will continue to serve my constituents with the same vigour and commitment as I always have." 

However, the statement from Mr Ferguson ruffled the feathers of sitting constituency MSP Kenneth Gibson, who issued an immediate response on his own social media page.

He said: "The Tory candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran in the next UK General election, Todd Ferguson, recently set out his election bid in the Largs & Millport News.

“Instead of focusing on the many reserved matters that are impacting people in North Ayrshire, the Tories’ candidate has bizarrely set out what devolved matters he would like to take on, if elected as an MP.

“North Ayrshire and Arran’s incumbent MP, Patricia Gibson, has since her election in 2015, worked tirelessly to raise constituents’ concerns to UK ministers on a wide range of matters that are reserved to the UK Government.

“This includes the stubbornly high inflation rate caused by the disastrous Truss mini-budget, the concomitant cost-of-living crisis, failed energy policies and limited gas storage causing soaring energy bills, minimum pay and working conditions for Scotland’s workers, the UK’s draconian anti-trade union laws, WASPI, Universal Credit cuts, animal welfare, bank and post office closures and last but not least the disastrous effects of Brexit which has led to increased red tape and staffing issues for Scotland’s businesses.

“I don’t blame Mr Ferguson for not wanting to defend his party’s abysmal record at Westminster, however I would have at least expected him to put forward some ideas on how things can be improved.

“Unfortunately the Tories and Sir Keir Starmer’s pro-Brexit Labour Party are wedded to failed policies that have tanked the UK economy and sent the cost-of-living soaring, from Brexit to austerity cuts.

“Only with independence can Scotland escape Westminster control, get rid of the Tories for good, and secure the powers we need to build a wealthier and fairer future in Europe.”

However, Mr Ferguson then responded on his social media page that Mr Gibson was "grandstanding over devolved areas of competency, or incompetency in relation to the SNP".

He highlighted Scotland as "having the highest drug deaths in Europe, recorded levels of alcohol related deaths, record waiting times for A&E, treatments, and diagnosis, care service that is on its knees, and NHS recruitment and morale are at damaging levels, while housing waiting lists are 'through the roof' and local government is 'underfunded by the SNP to absolute breaking point".