Dawe will stand again as shake-up boosts chances

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CITY leader Jenny Dawe has confirmed that she will stand again in Edinburgh at next year's council elections - but the Liberal Democrat group is to have a shake-up in order to give her more chance of being re-elected.

Cllr Dawe and her Liberal Democrat colleague Robert Aldridge are both currently among the three councillors that represent the Drum Brae/Gyle ward after a strong showing within the seat in 2007.

But it has been confirmed that Cllr Aldridge will stand in the Almond ward, where Lord Provost George Grubb is to stand down, rather than seeking re-election in his existing ward.

The group said it will only select one candidate for the seat at this stage - before deciding nearer next summer's election whether to add a second.

It is thought that the Lib Dems have opted for the changes in order to limit the chance of them losing one of their more experienced politicians in Edinburgh.

Opposition councillors say it is a sign that the group is trying to avoid a wipe-out caused by negative opinion of the party nationally and local issues such as the tram project and school closures.

Councillor Charles Dundas, chairman of the Lib Dem group at the city chambers, said: "We have two councillors there at the moment, but we are only selecting one candidate in the first instance. We are not ruling out there being two.

"It was the decision of the local party that we will only pick one at the moment and reserve a decision on the other until closer to the election."

There had been speculation that Cllr Dawe may not seek re-election, having been scarred by personal criticism of her leadership, role in The Gathering and handling of the tram project.

But she has now registered to stand again in the Drum Brae/Gyle ward.

Cllr Dundas said: "Jenny Dawe is the most capable politician we have in the City Chambers and I look forward to her having a significant role in the Liberal Democrat campaign and in the Liberal Democrat administration that will come about following the election."

The poor showing in the Scottish Parliament elections has led to confidence among opposition groups that the Lib Dems' vote will plummet.

Cllr Dundas claimed that a lot of opposition to the Lib Dems in Edinburgh is a result of "misinformation" spread by their political opponents.

Lib Dem candidates have until this weekend to apply to represent the group in the city.

If only one candidate applies - as is understood to be the case with Cllr Dawe's Drum Brae/Gyle seat - they are expected to be confirmed as the group's candidate next week.