It was announced last week exactly who would be running for election across North Ayrshire on May 5 this year.

While there are a lot of familiar names on the ballot paper, one not so recognisable name has turned a few heads.

This has come in the Irvine South ward, where Matthew McLean will be running as the only candidate for the Scottish Conservative and Unionists.

Though “Matthew McLean” has never run in North Ayrshire Council elections before, they were initially listed as Matthew Grainger before this was later corrected.

This led the new Conservative candidate to be identified as a previous hopeful from the 2017 North Ayrshire Council elections, running in the Kilwinning ward.

Though at this time they ran for a different party - the United Kingdom Independence Party, or UKIP.

What will really raise some eyebrows is the comments made as part of his election campaign at the time.

Mr Grainger, now Mr McLean, was quoted as saying: “UKIP is the only party that cannot whip its members to vote for certain issues: local first, party second.”

Further to this, he said: “Fun Fact: just 20 minutes down the road in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, the council is currently run by an SNP/Tory coalition - don’t let that happen here.”

While this is all part of a typical election campaign, it certainly does not show a favourable opinion of his current party.

In addition to this, Mr McLean, who was only 20 at the time of the last election, received only 1.04 per cent of the first preference voting percentage.

North Ayrshire Conservatives were approached and Mr McLean provided some clarity to his switch of allegiances.

He said: “In terms of UKIP, very simply we achieved what we set out to do. I wanted to leave the European Union, it was a vehicle for doing it at the time.

“Now we’ve achieved that, Boris Johnson is in power, trying to get Brexit done and there’s no reason for UKIP to exist anymore.

“I am very much at home in my local association with quite a few like minded members.”

The Conservative Party had been looking for a new candidate for Irvine South after Margaret George announced she would not be running for re-election. The Times revealed last year how she was “Scotland’s laziest councillor”.

It had previously appeared Calum McLean would run for the seat, who the National reported was a former “master” of the Orange Order.

Though it now appears that decision has been reversed, with Matthew McLean the new name on the ballot papers.