A Perthshire councillor is facing calls to resign after tweeting the coronavirus epidemic has ended.
Councillor David Illingworth tweeted the epidemic peaked on April 9 and finished at the end of June, while sharing a Spectator article calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to over-rule the Scottish Government’s new six-person gathering rules.
The Conservative stated it was “time to stop panicking and get back to living life to the full.”
Mr Illingworth, who represents the Almond and Earn ward, faced a backlash but defended his statement with a graph showing falling death rates.
However, he was blasted by opposition councillors for suggesting infections which do not result in deaths do not make the ongoing crisis an epidemic.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the statement was “recklessness at its worst.”
This is from a Perthshire Tory Councillor. Recklessness at its worst. https://t.co/mFg78TAgzx
— John Swinney (@JohnSwinney) September 14, 2020
City centre SNP councillor Eric Drysdale said: “What an incredibly irresponsible message for an elected councillor to put out on social media.
“Try telling that to the 439 confirmed cases in Tayside alone since end of June.
“At a time when cases are on the rise again across the UK, this is a disgraceful tweet. Resign now.”
Mr Illingworth came under fire earlier in the summer for a tweet which compared the transmission of Covid-19 to that of HIV.
The Courier approached Councillor Illingworth but he declined to comment, but later tweeted: “My degree is in economics and statistics and I’m a big fan of evidence based decision making.”
Conservative council leader Murray Lyle said: “That is his view and he is entitled to it.
“It’s not my view. I think the rule of six is likely to be shared by all nations across the UK for some considerable time.
“As far as I’m concerned this is just a personal opinion and I don’t share it.”
SNP group leader Grant Laing branded the condemnation as “pretty weak” and said Mr Illingworth had “overstepped the mark.”
He added: “This isn’t political, this is dangerous.
“It’s worrying that Councillor Illingworth seems to be denying the epidemic is still ongoing while his administration are spending so much time and effort trying to mitigate the effects of this disease.”