MSP in call to reinstate Pilmar Smith at Lothian Buses

LOTHIANS Labour MSP George Foulkes today called for former Lothian Buses chairman Pilmar Smith to be put back at the helm of the company.

He said Mr Smith was popular with the bus firm's staff and respected across the political spectrum.

The call comes amid controversy over plans to appoint Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce boss Ron Hewitt as chairman.

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Lord Foulkes said: "What they should do is bring back Pilmar Smith.

"He is very well respected by all the staff and by the general public because of the service he ran.

"He was doing extremely well and then he was kicked out unceremoniously by Jenny Dawe and Steve Cardownie.

"Since then everything has gone wrong."

Lord Foulkes said concerns had been raised about a conflict of interest if Mr Hewitt was given the job.

"If Pilmar was brought back it would give some stability to the bus company and would separate it from the trams."

It was reported today that the SNP only agreed to back Mr Hewitt's appointment in return for a deal to save the closure-threatened BlindCraft charity, although council transport chief Lib Dem councillor Gordon Mackenzie said he was "simply the best candidate".