Troubled weekend for Lib Dems as police probe looms

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Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott’s election campaign has been rocked by a series of fresh blows.

One leading candidate was caught out admitting the party “don’t like working with the Tories” in London, while the Sunday Express revealed that the use of police officers’ photographs on election brochures is to be probed.

It came as a new poll, published today, suggests the party is facing an even worse result at the ballot box on May 5 than expected. Willie Rennie, who was special advisor to Chief Treasury Secretary  Danny Alexander last year, was yesterday accused of “hypocrisy” after his slip-up.

In a leaked e-mail to a constituent, the former Dunfermline and West Fife MP, said: “I’m sorry that you feel let down by the Lib Dems. We don’t like working with the Tories.

“We remember what they did to Scotland in the 1980s. However, we had to get involved to stop the Tories doing their worst.”

His SNP rival candidate, Douglas Chapman, said: “In attacking his own party’s involvement with the Tories while standing as their top list candidate in Mid Scotland and Fife, Willie is being hypocritical.”

However, Mr Rennie said he had often expressed the same views in public. Meanwhile, a row is brewing over the use of photos of police and fire officers in Lib Dem leaflets.

Last week, the party was criticised for putting images of Grampian’s Chief Fire Officer David Dalziel on promotional material without brigade knowledge.

Now the Sunday Express can reveal the party has used pictures of police officers on at least three more brochures without permission.

Deputy leader Mike Rumbles, standing in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, uses a photo of him talking to three Lothian and Borders officers at the Scottish Parliament. Alex Cole Hamilton, standing in Edinburgh Central, and Christine Jardine, standing in Inverness and Nairn, are also pictured with officers.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police confirmed they had not been approached asking for permission to use photos of officers.

However, he added that, as they were taken before the campaign began, the officers were not in breach of election Purdah rules.

The  Lib Dem spokeswoman fumed: “The SNP must be seriously rattled by our campaign to save local policing if they resort to this kind of petty politics. Only the Liberal Democrats are standing up against those who want centralised police.

Published with thanks to the Sunday Express Scotland{jcomments on}