The flawed priorities of the SNP have never been more apparent than during the current leadership contest to be the next First Minister of Scotland.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes, and Ash Regan bidding to become the SNP’s new leader by outbidding each other with ever more radical plans to split up Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

One of them has genuinely suggested we should build a big thermometer’ to display how prepared the country is for independence.

When I recently called on the SNP to invest in infrastructure, I was hoping the SNP would open new train stations at Mauchline and Cumnock – not build a waste of space monument like this thermometer idea.

The SNP’s obsession with independence has a damaging impact on Scotland’s public services.

During one of the leadership debates, Kate Forbes even admitted as much herself. She summed up the SNP’s performance perfectly when she said that her party were responsible for train delays, an overstretched police service, and NHS waiting times being at record highs.

Instead of endlessly debating the constitution and suggesting ridiculous plans like building ‘independence thermometers’, the SNP should be focused on building new homes, upgrading our roads, supporting our NHS and delivering for the people of Scotland.

In Ayrshire, there are so many pressing priorities that the public want us to focus on more than independence.

From tackling crime to alleviating homelessness to creating jobs, people want politicians to focus 100 per cent on the day job right now.

Yet, there’s been little discussion on how the SNP leadership candidates will tackle these key issues or improve the lives of people in Ayrshire.

As the contest has gone on, the SNP have seemed increasingly out-of-touch with what’s happening in our communities.

It’s never been more apparent that we need a First Minister who will focus on Ayrshire’s real priorities, instead of getting distracted by the SNP’s obsession with independence.

When the next First Minister does enter office, I’ll be demanding they focus on delivering for Ayrshire and put all their energy into tackling what really matters to people here.