THEY say politics is a rough business ... but in St Helens it’s proving downright dangerous.
Three of the town’s most prominent political figures have fallen victim to injury or illness within the last few months in a spectacular run of ill fortune.
Deputy Lib Dem party leader Suzanne Knight is the latest victim after she was ordered to undergo painful knee replacement surgery.
Doctors found the cartilage in Coun Knight’s right knee had completely worn away, leaving her in agony and unable to walk pain-free for more than a few minutes.
Her lay-up follows on from her party boss Brian Spencer who was laid up last November with gallstones.
Then council leader Marie Rimmer tripped and fell outside her home, breaking her wrist.
Coun Knight, who is now recovering at home, takes a philosophical approach to the bad luck befalling her and her political brethren.
“It got to the stage where I couldn’t walk for more than five minutes at a time and the doctors eventually said ‘enough is enough,” the former deputy council leader said.
“It’s bad timing with the election coming up on May 5 but it just can’t be helped. I’ll still do what I can but obviously I won’t be out delivering leaflets.
“I played a fair bit of sport in my younger days but not to the extent you’d expect this kind of injury - it is pretty unusual for something like this in someone my age.”
The popular councillor, who has represented Newton since 1991, added: “I’ve had such a lot of help from so many people, it’s been wonderful. I’ve so many people to thank.”
The political ill-wind first began blowing in St Helens last November when Coun Spencer complained of stomach pains. Doctors suspected gallstones but were stunned to find 34 when they operated. Two months later, council leader Marie Rimmer follow suits by tripping outside her home.
That spectacular run of bad luck prompted mayor Neil Taylor to warn councillors leaving a town hall meeting to take care on their way home, “particularly you, Wally,” a reference to unscathed Tory leader Wally Ashcroft.