Bill Walker seat: Ewan Aitken to stand

Ewan Aitken was born in Dunfermline. Picture: Jon Savage
Ewan Aitken was born in Dunfermline. Picture: Jon Savage
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FORMER city council leader Ewan Aitken is bidding to win a seat in the Scottish Parliament at the by-election caused by the resignation of disgraced MSP Bill Walker.

Walker quit his Dunfermline seat after he was convicted on 23 charges of assaulting three former wives and a step-daughter. The by-election has been called for October 24.

Mr Aitken, who stood against the SNP’s Kenny MacAskill in Edinburgh Eastern at the last Holyrood elections, said: “I have thrown my hat in the ring. Dunfermline is my home town, it’s where I grew up and went to school.

“Having seen its reputation trashed by Bill Walker, I wanted to do what I could to help folk grab hold of their political name.”

Labour is due to draw up a shortlist of hopefuls tonight with local activists choosing the candidate on Sunday.

Former Dunfermline athletic manager and Fife provost Jim Leishman has ruled himself out.

Mr Aitken, who is a Church of Scotland minister and was a councillor in Edinburgh for 13 years until last year, said he believed Labour had a good chance of taking the seat. Walker won it for the SNP in 2011 with a majority of 630.

Walker’s domestic abuse convictions are bound to play a part in the campaign.

But Mr Aitken said: “I want to win the seat because we are good enough to win it, not because he is so bad.”

Former Lothian SNP MSP Shirley Anne Somerville is in the running to be the Nationalists’ candidate.

iswanson@edinburghnews.com