Lib Dems said councillor’s death gave them a ‘great opportunity’

Election leaflet was posted through the door of the wife of late SNP councillor Bob Band in Perth.

Lib Dems said councillor’s death gave them a ‘great opportunity’ Local Democracy Reporter

The Perthshire Lib Dems have apologised after saying a by-election – caused by an SNP councillor’s death – gave them a “great opportunity”.

The Lib Dem election leaflet containing the comments was posted through the late councillor’s wife’s door.

SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire Pete Wishart described the “wholly inappropriate leaflet” as “grotesque”.

The comments were made by Lib Dem Perth City South councillor Willie Wilson on an election leaflet for Liz Barrett, who is standing as Perth City South’s Lib Dem candidate for the November 26 by-election.

It was called following the passing of SNP councillor Bob Band in March.

A comment from Mr Wilson on the Lib Dem leaflet delivered to Mrs Band’s Perth home this week said: “This by-election, caused by the sad death of my friend, Cllr Bob Band, gives us a great opportunity to elect a second Lib Dem councillor for the ward…”

Mr Band’s family were deeply upset by the choice of wording.

A Perthshire SNP spokesperson said: “Bob’s family have made us aware that they are deeply upset by the insensitivity displayed in this leaflet.

“As far as they are concerned, it should never have been printed and should be withdrawn.”

And Mr Wishart described it as “simply grotesque”.

He told the LDRS: “With this wholly inappropriate leaflet the Liberals have managed to cause all sorts of upset with Bob’s family and my constituents in the Perth City South ward.

“It is simply grotesque to try and appropriate the support of a colleague who has just passed away and then try to suggest that this is some sort of political opportunity for them.

“Bob was an SNP man to his core and was a dear colleague to all of us who admired and respected him. All this shoddy leaflet does is just demonstrate the depths the Liberals are prepared to trawl.

“I now ask them to withdraw this leaflet, apologise to the family and pledge to leave our former colleague out of their campaigning. The people of the Perth City South ward deserve better than this.”

Lib Dem candidate Liz Barrett was deeply apologetic. She told the LDRS she hated the idea her election leaflet had upset the family and said it was “absolutely not the intention”.

She said: “We had huge respect and love for Bob.

“I am really sorry to hear this has caused upset to Bob’s family. That was absolutely not and never was our intention.”

Councillor Willie Wilson – who has regularly spoken of his friendship with Mr Band – apologised for any distress the leaflet may have caused his family.

He said: “We are today issuing an apology to Bob Band’s family for any distress the wording of the leaflet may have caused.

“The previous tribute which I paid to Bob in our summer leaflet was checked and approved by family prior to publication.”

Story by local democracy reporter Kathryn Anderson

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