ONE of the most active Yes groups in the Highlands, Inveryess, has been stunned by the city’s local authority demanding that it remove a pro-referendum advert even though it is not party political.

This fresh attempt to silence the Yes movement seems sure to spark a debate – not least about human rights – after Inveryess said it would stand firm against Highland Council’s demand that their banner advert be taken down from a bus stop in the city.

The council now has a formal complaint from Inveryess. Under its own rules, it must deal with the matter within 10 working days.

The advert which the council found problematic states: “Our parliament, Our democracy, Our choice. If Scotland votes for a new referendum, Scotland gets one.”

Inveryess convenor Helen Smith said: “We are sticking to our guns. The information is constitutional, and definitely not party political.”

Inveryess stated:. “The banner reminds the public that it is up to the people of Scotland to decide whether they want a second independence referendum.

“The council email sent to us on Friday instructed Inveryess to remove the banner by Monday, warning that if we didn’t comply, the council would make its own arrangements.

“Inveryess placed the order for the advertising banner through the company which deals with the council’s bus shelter advertising and which produced the final artwork for us, based on a Believe in Scotland design.

“We have replied to the council advising that we expect the banner to stay in place, and asking for details of any policy which rules out including constitutional information on bus shelter advertisements.”

The council is run by a coalition of independents, Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Smith said: “We pointed out to them that we had a contract and if they had a policy against constitutional information then they should not have accepted the advert.”

A spokesperson for Highland Council said: “The display of political posters on council property was in contravention of our advertising policy and contract, which is in line with the Local Government Act which prohibits political advertising on local authority property.

“The sponsorship contract is with Highland News & Media, which sells advertising space on council assets. Highland News & Media has immediately apologised for its error in not applying the terms of the policy and are consequently removing the advertising.

“Our policy states under General Principles 3 that we will not take advertising or sponsorship from organisations with a political purpose, including pressure groups and trade unions.”