ONE of the candidates in next month’s Inverclyde Council elections has admitted an assault on his wife involving a knife.

Alasdair Higgins, 49, is standing for the Liberal Democrats in the poll on May 4.

Although the offence occurred 10 years ago, his father-in-law, Gerard Caraher, maintains Mr Higgins is ‘not a suitable person to be a councillor’.

But Mr Higgins insists it was ‘all sorted out’ a long time ago, and the LibDems say they are ‘very pleased’ he is representing them in ward four, Inverclyde North.

Mr Caraher approached the Tele when he heard that Mr Higgins was running for the council. He said: “I contacted the Liberal Democrats locally and in Edinburgh to tell them what had happened, but they didn’t seem to be bothered about it.

“That’s why I went to the Telegraph, because I believe the public should know about it.”

Mr Higgins appeared at Greenock Sheriff Court on January 26, 2007, when he pleaded guilty to assault.

The charge stated: “On January 25, 2007, at 85 Glenside Road, Port Glasgow, you did assault Leah Higgins, co/o Greenock police office, and did push her on the body and present a knife at her.”

Sheriff John Herald adjourned the case for a month for community service and social inquiry reports.

Mr Higgins then appeared before Sheriff Vincent Canavan, who deferred sentence for six months for him to be of good behaviour, and for the purpose of getting a supplementary social inquiry report.

Mr Higgins returned to court on August 22, 2007, when he was admonished and dismissed by Sheriff Herald.

However, Mr Caraher, 72, of Greenock, believes the case should be highlighted.

He said: “People going to vote should be aware that one of the candidates has admitted domestic abuse.”

The Tele contacted Mr Higgins, who said he believed his case was being brought up again by his father-in-law because of ‘sour grapes’.

He said: “I’m trying to better myself. I don’t know why this needs to be brought up now. This is ridiculous, It happened 10 years ago and she took me back. It was all sorted out.

“I regret everything that happened. I don’t deny what I did was wrong, but we were back together and happily married for nine years after it.”

The couple are now in the process of getting divorced. Mr Higgins said: “It’s ancient history. I thought it was done and dusted and finished with.”

He is being backed by the local Liberal Democrat executive committee to continue contesting the election.

A statement issued by committee members, Councillor Ciano Rebecchi and former council leader, Alan Blair, said: “We are very pleased indeed that Alasdair is running for the council.

“He can provide ideas and energy that Inverclyde so obviously needs.

“A marriage problem 10 years ago resulted in an admonition and dismissal in court.  Sadly, marriage problems are not uncommon, and it is difficult to see what relevance that historical incident has to the local election. This is especially so, given the view the sheriff arrived at and the way he dealt with the matter.”

The statement concluded: “So we will get on with contesting the election as robustly as possible on the serious issues facing our area.”