I REFER to the article “Election hopeful panned by top health expert for Covid claims” by Angus Cochrane (April 6) concerning Wayne Darnell of the Reform Party (formerly the Brexit Party), who states that he is opposed to lockdowns, face coverings and vaccinations.

It is reported in the article that the very much media exposed Linda Bauld, professor of public health at Edinburgh University, has concerns about Darnell running for Holyrood and further that “people seeking public office need to make proportionate and responsible statements and some of those from Mr Darnell are not consistent with that.”

READ MORE: Reform UK Holyrood candidate Wayne Darnell panned for Covid claims

While I find Mr Darnell’s views on this matter abhorrent myself as well as irresponsible, it is not the role of public officials to try and decide who should and should not stand for elected office. All the more relevant to Prof Bauld, who has also a degree in political science.

By making this observation she has stepped into the political realm. If she indeed feels strongly about these matters then she should stand for public office herself, since we do not live in a scientocracy but a parliamentary democracy.

I am reminded in relation to Mr Darnell of Evelyn Beatrice Hall (biographer of Voltaire), who wrote: “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The quote is attributed to Voltaire.

James Park

I RECEIVED a letter from the DWP telling me about “the general increase in benefits” I would receive from April 13. I was surprised, as I have only ever been out of work for three months and was told at the time I could not receive benefits as I was living with my parents.

It now seems that my pension, for which I have worked hard all my life, is no longer considered to be an entitlement, but a benefit. I may be wrong but I believe that this change of language is a deliberate move to include our already meagre state pensions to be part of the government unjustified attack on the “benefits culture”. All I ask is that we get ready to fight back.

Pete Rowberry