Big names to quit council

EDUCATION leader Marilyne MacLaren and finance convener Phil Wheeler are both to stand down from the council, it was confirmed today.

• Marilyne MacLaren

Both Lib Dem councillors will retire at next year's elections, along with their colleague Lord Provost George Grubb, inset.

Meanwhile, it has emerged council leader Jenny Dawe will not be standing in her current Drum Brae/Gyle ward and will instead seek re-election in Cllr MacLaren's "safer" Meadows and Morningside ward.

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Other current city councillors have also announced they will not be seeking re-election next May, including senior Tory councillor Alastair Paisley, who represents the Pentland Hills ward, Almond Tory councillor Kate MacKenzie and Sighthill/Gorgie SNP councillor Nick Elliott-Cannon.

Speculation is already growing about Cllr Dawe's sudden decision to stand in Meadows/Morningside instead of the Drum Brae/Gyle ward. It follows the announcement that schools campaigner Karen Keil, who fought against the Lib Dem/SNP administration's school closure plans, was planning to stand against her, as will local political campaigner Mark Brown, who will be Conservative candidate in the ward.

The city's Labour leader Councillor Andrew Burns said: "The blunt truth is that Meadows/Morningside is potentially a much safer seat for any Lib Dem than Drum Brae/Gyle.

He added: "Many of the Lib Dem candidates are not standing again or are standing in different wards because they know they are not going to get re-elected."

Councillor Charles Dundas, chairman of the Lib Dem group at the city chambers, said: "All three have given great service and we are sorry to lose them." Regarding Cllr Dawe's decision to stand in the Meadows/Morningside ward, he said: "She was looking for that opportunity to be that little bit more local to where she represents." Cllr MacLaren said she would be pursuing "other challenges" when she retires from her role as councillor. SNP group leader Councillor Steve Cardownie said final decisions on where each candidate in his party would be standing were still to be made.



All current councillors standing in the same wards. Also confirmed are Karen Keil, who will be standing in the Drum Brae/Gyle ward, and Billy Fitzpatrick standing in Almond.


Steve Burgess will be standing again in Southside/Newington ward and Maggie Chapman in Leith Walk. Alison Johnstone is not standing next year after being elected to the Scottish Parliament in May.


Of the original 12 SNP councillors, nine are seeking re-election.

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Colin Keir is not standing as he was elected to the Scottish Parliament in May, David Beckett has resigned and Nick Elliott-Cannon is not standing due to work commitments. Elaine Morris recently defected to the SNP from the Lib Dems and will be standing for re-election in May.

Lib Dems

There will be three retirals - Lord Provost George Grubb, education leader Marilyne MacLaren and finance leader Phil Wheeler.

Nine wards have still to select their candidates. However, eight have been confirmed so far.

New candidate Alasdair Shields will stand in the Almond ward, Tim McKay will stand again in Inverleith, Paul Edie remains in Corstorphine/Murrayfield, Jim Lowrie will stand again in Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart ward, Louise Lang goes again in Leith Walk, Marjorie Thomas will stand again in Leith and Gordon Mackenzie will seek to retain his Southside/Newington position. Council leader Jenny Dawe is to stand in Marilyne MacLaren's current Meadows/Morningside ward.


All current Conservative councillors will be standing again in their current wards, except Alastair Paisley and Kate MacKenzie, who are both retiring.