Candidates demand investigation into election leaflets

TWO LOCAL candidates who stood for election to the Scottish Parliament are demanding a full investigation from Royal Mail after claiming some of their campaign leaflets were not delivered on time.

Arbroath councillor David Fairweather who stood under the Angus Independent Representatives banner says he is aware of 16 postcode areas in Arbroath alone that did not receive his leaflets, despite following the procedures and paying Royal Mail to deliver them.

Mr Fairweather came fourth in the poll in the Angus South constituency receiving 4.8 per cent coming in behind the winning SNP candidate Graeme Dey as well as the Conservatives and Labour.

And on Monday, Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone who was a candidate in the Angus North and Mearns constituency, but was elected through the north east regional list said voters had been in touch with him to say his leaflets did not arrive until a day after the country went to the polls.

Mr Fairweather, who paid around £600 for the leaflets, said he followed the correct procedure, but claims he still doesn’t know where they are.

He explained: “This has obviously made a hugely influential bearing on the votes I have received.

“I take this very seriously and feel that someone should be held accountable for the failing of Royal Mail not delivering these leaflets as required.

“I want a full investigation and explanation into this complete mismanagement.”

Mr Fairweather says he delivered 5,000 leaflets himself and family and friends helped him to deliver a further 6,000.

And even though he concedes the leaflets would not have made him win the election, they could have helped to boost his vote share.

He added: “It was a huge election and I know we were a new party but we still managed to beat the Liberal Democrats who are a national party.

“It just makes me think where we could have been if everything had been done properly.

“I paid £600 for leaflets and lost my £500 deposit by just 0.2 per cent and the leaflets could have made the difference between me receiving that back.”

Despite retaining his seat as an MSP for the North of Scotland, Mr Johnstone said he also followed all the necessary procedures but the election material came too late.

He explained: “I am deeply concerned that despite complying with the Royal Mail procedures, some of the leaflets were delivered late.

“I am fortunate that I had enough volunteers to deliver thousands of leaflets ourselves, but given the fact I do not seem to be the only candidate who has encountered issues with the Royal Mail during the campaign, I feel that this issue should be thoroughly investigated.

“This whole episode calls the efficiency of the Royal Mail into question, and I can’t help but think that if it cannot deliver, then perhaps more private sector involvement should be considered. 

“Businesses and individuals rely on the service every day, and incidents such as these simply should not be allowed to happen.”

A spokeswoman for Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail is investigating the complaint as a matter of urgency.”