THE convenor of East Lothian Liberal Democrats resigned less than a week after the Scottish Parliament election, citing “disappointment” with the party’s leader Willie Rennie.

Kit Fraser has only been a member of the party’s East Lothian branch for two years and convenor since the start of the year.

But he wrote to local members and supporters informing them of his decision.

The Dunbar resident, and former Dunbar United FC secretary, said he made the decision with “a heavy heart” and “deeply regrets the move” but felt there was “no other way of expressing my disappointment, indeed disillusionment, with Scottish leader Willie Rennie and his leadership team”.

In a letter to members, the former BBC Scotland political correspondent added: “I know that several of the, regretfully few, East Lothian activists who worked so hard on our local campaign share my feelings.

“Indeed, one expressed the view that senior party figures act as an elite group, completely distanced from the advice and experience of our grassroots.

“I must thank those colleagues who worked so hard to overcome the problems posed by the pandemic – in particular our young candidate Euan Davidson – only to get no reward in our vote, which was almost exactly the same as the disappointing figure in the previous Holyrood election.

“I am sorry to say I believe that was almost entirely due to the leadership’s failure to offer an attractive manifesto that would set us apart from the other Scottish parties.

“They also failed to build a campaign profile that would persuade voters that we would properly take to task the desperately underperforming SNP Government.

“Instead, we had a leader who, questioned by the press about ‘his tendency to be involved in bizarre photo opportunities’, replied: ‘I don’t take myself too seriously.’

“I and several of my campaign colleagues winced at every new ‘bizarre’ photo op. We felt that each one further undermined his, and the party’s, authority and credibility.

“One of those was actually staged in East Lothian but the local party was kept completely in the dark about that so Euan had no opportunity to be pictured with his leader.

“The party desperately needs a change of image, leadership and, dare I say it, professionalism, but as a member of only two years and not in the first flush of youth, I am not prepared to wait around for that to happen.”

In response to Mr Fraser’s comments, a spokesperson for the Scottish Liberal Democrats said in a statement: “Willie Rennie ran an energetic campaign to make sure the new parliament is focused on recovery, not independence.”

The Liberal Democrats finished fourth in East Lothian in this month’s election and won just four seats in total.