A PRESSURE group behind a string of pro-Union billboards in the run-up to the election has been dismissed as a 'pop-up campaign' by Inverclyde's SNP candidate.

Stuart McMillan branded the latest electronic advert — which likens Alba Party leader Alex Salmond as Nicola Sturgeon's 'extreme separatist' puppet master — 'laughable'.

Mr McMillan also took a swipe at former local Labour MP Iain McKenzie for supporting the Scotland Matters organisation behind the billboards.

He said: "I fail to understand the unionist obsession with independence when they say they don't want it.

"The Tory leaflets and party political broadcasts mention independence more than any other subject.

"If Scotland really mattered, this pop up campaign group would spend their time and efforts outlining their bold vision for Scotland, rather than talking down a democratic opportunity for Scotland.

"It's clear that they don't have any positive plans for Scotland, and have no positive arguments for the Union, which is why they're so focused on trying to rubbish the SNP's plans for an independent Scotland."

Scotland Matters is calling on people to vote tactically to and stop a 'super majority' in the billboard which is currently on display off the A8 in Port Glasgow.

A spokesman for the group said: "This most recent billboard in our ongoing series sees the three independence clique leaders together in what would be the pecking order of control — Salmond, Sturgeon and [Patrick] Harvie's blinkered obsession with independence has spiralled Scotland down in a freefall of decline for over a decade.

"So it's no surprise here they are again ignoring the issues that all Scots want Holyrood to concentrate on — saving lives, Covid recovery, the NHS, jobs, economy and the environment.

"The local SNP candidate Stuart McMillan needs to denounce Alba as extreme separatists."

Former MP Mr McKenzie said: "The vast majority of people in Inverclyde want a Scottish Government with its eye firmly on Covid recovery, not fixated with the constitution.

"They want a Government focused entirely on saving lives, saving jobs, enhancing our NHS and energising our economy.

"The last thing people want is more division and uncertainty brought about by an obsession with separation from the UK.

"It's time to focus on what really matters to the people of Inverclyde, not taking the eye off the ball allowing services to deteriorate and even collapse.

"The last thing Inverclyde needs and the last thing Scotland needs is this supposed super majority for constitutional upheaval."

SNP man Mr McMillan said: "While failed former Labour MPs seek relevance again spouting soundbites for Tory-backed unionist campaign groups, I am focused on Greenock and Inverclyde, the post-Covid recovery and listening to the views of local people.

"I want to continue advocating for the Greenock and Inverclyde constituency in Holyrood."

Voters go to the polls on Thursday.