GREENS fear they are not getting their message across to voters in next month’s European elections – because their leaflets are being sent out inside pamphlets for arch-opponents Ukip.
Edinburgh Green co-ordinator Gavin Corbett said he had received several complaints from members of the public that the Royal Mail – which delivers free election literature from all the parties – had broken the rules by putting Green leaflets inside the larger Ukip ones.
Councillor Corbett said potential Green voters might well simply decide to bin Ukip leaflets without reading them, unaware they were also throwing away the Greens’ message.
Royal Mail confirmed it was aware of the party’s complaint and said it was investigating, although it insisted the problems had only affected a “small amount of mail”.
Cllr Corbett said the complaints he has received have come from several parts of the city, including Southside, Fountainbridge, Shandon and Gorgie.
He added: “People have told us they were just about to put the Ukip leaflet in the bin when they realised at the last minute that our leaflet was inside.
“It’s against the terms of the Royal Mail’s contract with the government for handling the freepost election literature, which explicitly says leaflets should not be inside each other.
“The Greens and Ukip are at opposite ends of the political spectrum so it is a particular issue for us.
“Anyone who is even mildly inclined to vote Green is likely to have an aversion to Ukip and may of them are going to bin the Ukip leaflet without looking inside.”
Cllr Corbett said the main interest in the election was who was going to win the sixth seat – which Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon is widely expected to lose – and he claimed the Greens and Ukip, led nationally by Nigel Farage, were both in contention.
He said: “It’s a big problem for us if our stuff is getting lost in Ukip’s.
“Our message is around welcoming people to Scotland, we are pro a reformed Europe and internationalist
“We are quite explicit in saying we are the opposite of Ukip.”
The elections for Scotland’s members of the European Parliament take place on Thursday, May 22, though the count will not take place until the Sunday afterwards – once all the other member states of the European Union have also voted.
Six MEPs are elected to represent the whole of Scotland.
There are currently two Labour, two SNP, one Conservative and one Liberal Democrat.
Royal Mail confirmed election leaflets should not be delivered inside one another and said it was investigating.
A spokeswoman said: “Royal Mail is aware of issues relating to the Green Party election material and we are in discussion with them.
“We believe the issue affects a small amount of mail.”