Fines urged over failure to poll down election posters

City chiefs have been urged to impose fines on political parties after it emerged that campaign posters are still on city streets nearly six months after the Scottish Parliament elections.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 17th October 2011, 1:12 pm

Tory councillor Gordon Buchan, who has successfully campaigned for political posters attached to lampposts to be banned for future elections, said two battered signs promoting the Liberal Democrats are still up on a busy road.

The posters, on lampposts in Murrayfield Road, were put up to promote the ultimately unsuccessful campaign by Margaret Smith to retain her seat in the Edinburgh Western constituency in May.

There have also been reports of Lib Dem posters being left up in Morningside several months after the parliament elections.

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Cllr Buchan said the council should take down the signs and charge the cost of doing so to the Lib Dems, who are part of the coalition running the city.

He said: “They have been up for so long they have slid down to nearly waist height.

“You would think the party of governance in the city would follow the rules. People doing nightclub promotions get fined for fly-postering, businesses get fined for fly-posting and perhaps political parties should be fined too. It is a poor show if political parties do not bother to remove their posters.

“It was quite clear in the election period that parties have 48 hours to remove them.”

A motion tabled by Cllr Buchan and passed by councillors in June means election posters will now be banned from lampposts and other “street furniture”.

The city council confirmed that it has not handed out any fines for removing posters since this year’s May 7 deadline.

Murrayfield/Corstorphine councillor Jeremy Balfour said he was aware of the Lib Dem signs in Murrayfield Road.

He said: “I think the returning officer should now enforce this. The regulations are that if they don’t take them down, the council takes them down and charges the party for it.

“We’ve had six months to do this now – every party needs to be responsible and you shouldn’t put these up if you can’t take them down.”

Ms Smith was not available to comment on why she had not taken her signs down.

A spokeswoman for the city council said: “All political parties are well aware that they must remove any posters displayed in the city immediately following an election.

“Following complaints earlier this year parties were reminded of this and told that if no action was taken then the council would remove any posters which were reported to us, with costs incurred recovered from the relevant political party.”

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