Former MSP Bill Walker’s PR spokesman has been forced to withdraw a controversial statement made earlier today which questioned why Walker’s ex-wife did not divorce him earlier if she had been “subject to as much abuse as she now claims”.Iain Maciver claimed in his retraction that he was “running late” when the statement was released and apologised to Diana Walker for “those silly comments”.Walker, 71, was convicted last month of domestic abuse crimes against three ex-wives and a step daughter between 1967 and 1995 and will be sentenced later this month. He eventually resigned as MSP for Dunfermline West after initially refusing calls to go, blaming the “media onslaught” after his violent behaviour came to light.But in a statement released on Monday morning, Walker’s appointed spokesman attacked the media for apparently failing to point out that Walker’s ex-wife, Diana Walker, did not divorce him straight away once the couple were separated, and claimed Walker’s former victim was “enjoying the limelight”.The statement continued: “It is gratifying to learn that at least one journalist has been clever enough to notice that while former TV walk-on artist Diana Walker is enjoying the limelight again in front of the cameras, she seems to still forget some of her lines.“If she had been subject to as much abuse as she now claims, why did she not divorce him in the 1990s?” he asked.The statement was reported by Scottish news outlet STV News and caused an outcry on Twitter with journalists expressing disbelief, including the Herald’s investigations editor, Paul Hutcheon, who exposed the former MSPs crimes in 2012.
I'm rubbing my eyes with this one. Here is the PR statement just put out on Bill Walker pic.twitter.com/BQC9HHCAK2— Paul Hutcheon (@paulhutcheon) September 9, 2013
Bill Walker's PR man describes BW's third wife as a "former TV walk-on artist". I understand she was an extra, once, in Bergerac— Paul Hutcheon (@paulhutcheon) September 9, 2013
Just hours later, Maciver released another statement retracting the first, blaming poor timekeeping for launching the character assault on Walker’s ex-wife.“I confirm that I wish to withdraw my statement this morning concerning Diana Walker,” the statement read. “Running late is no excuse for not checking that it was appropriately written.“Mr Bill Walker did not write that statement. He left it to me to clarify matters about their divorce and the result is all my fault.“I apologise to Diana Walker who absolutely did not deserve those silly comments and criticism.“His ex-wives are of course perfectly entitled to speak out and attempts at clarification by me will be more sensibly framed in the future.”On his website, Maciver – also a columnist with Aberdeen-based Press and Journal - describes himself as a specialist in crisis PR and details his services in “all manner of short-notice public relations work” for high-profile individuals in the news.
Anyone know of a good crisis PR guy for Bill Walker's crisis PR guy? #farce— Paul Hutcheon (@paulhutcheon) September 9, 2013
Wonder if Bill Walker will pay Iain Maciver for today's PR shift, or will the cheque be #runninglate— Paul Hutcheon (@paulhutcheon) September 9, 2013