AN Alba election candidate has been threatened with a fine if he does not remove campaign banners, The National can reveal.

Chris McEleny, who is running for the new Inverclyde and Renfrewshire West seat, was warned by an official to remove his banners – or he will be forced to cover the costs of the council taking them down.

In a leaked email, Inverclyde’s director of environment and regeneration Stuart Jamieson told McEleny (below) to take down the banners.

The National: Chris McEleny ..Christopher McEleny.

In an email sent on Monday, Jamieson wrote: “It has come to my attention that a number of banners promoting yourself have been put up at various locations around Inverclyde Council assets.

“Given that you do not have permission for these and Inverclyde Council prohibits the use of all street furniture and its properties for the display of any election materials can I ask that you remove them by 6pm tomorrow [Tuesday].

“If you are unable to comply with this request I will instruct officers to remove them and return them to you, I should point out that we will seek recovery of all costs incurred.”

It is not clear whether the council has taken the banners down.

READ MORE: Labour council leader and Alba candidate in spat over election banner

In his response, McEleny insisted the rules prohibiting political banners on public street furniture only applied during election campaigns and were therefore not applicable.

He said: “As you will be aware, we are not in an election period.

“Inverclyde Council does not have a policy that covers the display of political messaging outwith election periods as the full council decision of 2014 did not cover this.”

McEleny has previously claimed the council’s decision to ban political advertising in the run up to the 2014 referendum came about because of the Labour-run local authority’s opposition to independence.

The National:

He went on: “I also note the arbitrary demand you have intimated.

“I am rather perplexed by this as all posters appear to be placed next to commercial posters that the council has taken no action against or made no financial threats against.

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“It would seem that this may then be potentially discriminatory as you are acting in a manner against pro-independence banners – a philosophical belief protected from unlawful discrimination – which is adverse in comparison to direct comparators you have taken no action on.

“Assumedly you are aware of all of the commercial posters as you drive by them on a daily basis when travelling to Inverclyde from your home outwith the area.

“Further, can you please inform me who brought to your attention the banners and if they have impressed upon you their view that they should be removed? You will note this information would be available via [a Freedom of Information] request.”

The Labour leader of Inverclyde Council Stephen McCabe earlier this week took to Twitter/X to bemoan McEleny's banners and invited others to lodge official complaints.  

An Inverclyde Council spokesperson said: "A polite request was made for the removal of banners from council property in line with existing procedures.

"If the banners are not removed by the owner and we have to remove them then we may seek to recover the costs incurred for the work involved."