THE Conservative candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North has claimed it is a “two-horse race” between her and the SNP’s Gavin Newlands in the battle to become the area’s next MP.

Julie Pirone, who was brought up in Renfrewshire but currently lives in Edinburgh, has vowed to oppose another Independence referendum should she be elected as the constituency’s Westminster representative.

“I’m very passionate about the union,” she told The Gazette.

READ MORE: Tory candidate Julie Pirone wants to halt referendum talk

“I think independence would destroy the economy in this country, it would destroy a lot of jobs.

“We all voted in that ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity in 2014, the vote happened and, yes, some people don’t like it but we have to accept that the people have spoken and give democracy its place.”

Mrs Pirone, who has been a member of the Conservative Party for “a couple of years,” said it was the threat of independence that initially got her interested in running for parliament.

She added: “This is my first attempt at getting elected and I’m very clear in my own mind that I love Scotland, I love where I’m from, I want to continue to bring my children up here and independence just makes me angry.

“It makes me worry for my children’s future in this country and it makes me worry about the state of the economy.”

READ MORE: SNP landslide predicted as Renfrewshire voters to to the polls

Renfrewshire voted against Scottish independence in the 2014 referendum by a slim majority, with 53 per cent of the population voting to remain part of the UK.

Mrs Pirone continued: “I think that, in Paisley and Renfrewshire North, it will be a two-horse race between the Conservatives, who want to stay in the Union, and the SNP, who want independence at all costs.

“The more time they spend on it, the more time local services are suffering and we can see that in our schools and health services.”

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