Councillors told to remove badges

Yes Scotland Campaign Badge
Yes Scotland Campaign Badge

TWO SNP councillors were ordered to remove their pro-Independence badges when they attended a Scottish Borders Council meeting last week.

Bill Herd (Galashiels & District) and Donald Moffat (Mid Berwickshire) had entered the Newtown chamber of Scottish Borders Council on Friday morning sporting Yes badges on their lapels.

When a Council officer told them to remove the badges, Mr Herd said to the Police, Fire & Rescue Service and Safer Communities Board that it was “political correctness gone mad”.

An SBC spokesperson commented: “This was a mistake owing to a misinterpretation of the requirements on staff during ‘purdah’ [when public bodies’ actions are curbed in the period leading up an election].”

They added:“In terms of the wearing of badges, etc, there are no restrictions on members of the public who are customers or visitors to council buildings.”

They went on: “Our preference is for councillors, while representing SBC on a board or a committee making decisions for the council – such as Councillors Herd and Moffat on Friday – not to wear Yes or No badges in the period of purdah.”

Last month, all Scottish Borders Council staff were told they must not “express or display” their referendum affiliations at work or in council vehicles.

That edict also applies to council employees outside working hours if they are wearing a council uniform or ID badge.

A member of the press who was covering the meeting was also told to remove a badge in relation to the forthcoming referendum.

However, they later received an apology.