Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Mike Rumbles has written to Alex Salmond to complain about a, frankly, disgusting e-mail sent out by Highland SNP Councillor John Finnie alerting fellow nationalists to what he described as three potential by-elections, including one in the Ross, Skye and Inverness West seat held by John Farquhar Munro.
I should make clear that John Farquhar Munro has stated his intention to serve for his full Parliamentary term.
The text of his e-mail is copied below.
As you may be aware the potential exists for three local by-elections and the Party requires YOUR help. Those election are;
John Holden, Labour, Inverness South, faces ongoing criminal enquires - presumption of innocence must apply.
Jimmy MacDonald, Independent, Inverness West remains seriously ill and absent from Council duties for several months.
In the last Council Multi-Member Ward elections our Candidates comfortably won both seats and we can, indeed must, win any by-election.
J. Farquhar Munro, Lib Dem, remains unwell with continual suggestions of a Spring By-election. Dave Thompson secured a huge increase in our vote at the last election and this seat and can and will be won.
This coming Saturday WE will distribute a newspaper in the Dalneigh area.
This is an important area because it covers the Inverness West Council seat, the Scottish seat plus the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Westminster seat, for which I am the Candidate.
WE meet at 10am, this Saturday 11th at the Highland Council Car park on Glenurquhart Road and will work until 1pm.
I look forwarding to seeing you on Saturday.
Yours for Scotland
(Cllr) John Finnie, SNP Group Leader, Highland Council"
He mentioned that he was the SNP candidate for the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey seat held by Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander.
You have to question the political judgment of someone who can send out an e-mail like this, inferring the potential demise of a local parliamentarian. Is it appropriate for this individual to remain in a senior position on the Council and as a Parliamentary Candidate? That will be for Alex Salmond to decide but the very least that should happen is that Cllr Finnie should make a full public apology for this and the SNP leadership should publicly disassociate themselves from these quite sick comments.
I come from Inverness and I know that Highlanders have a reputation for hospitality, courtesy and respect. It's sad when a senior public official does something which is so much the opposite of all of these qualities.