Edinburgh candidates ready for council battle as coalition looms

The political parties are ready for the fight to control City Chambers.
The political parties are ready for the fight to control City Chambers.
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ANOTHER coalition council is looming after no party put up enough candidates to secure an overall majority.

A total of 120 hopefuls from all parties will battle it out for the 63 seats on the city council at the elections in May.

The full list of nominations for 17 multi-member wards shows the SNP is fielding 27 candidates, Labour 23, the Conservatives 21, Liberal Democrats 18 and the Greens 17.

There are also seven independents, four candidates from the Scottish Libertarian Party, two from Ukip and one from the Socialist Labour Party.

The council has been controlled since the last election in 2012 by a Labour-SNP coalition. And another coalition of some kind looks inevitable after May 4 because no party is putting up enough candidates to land an outright victory.

READ MORE: Revealed: Every Council candidate for May election

Labour currently has 21 seats, the SNP 17, Conservatives 11, Greens five and the Lib Dems two, with two independents.

In an ambitious move, the SNP – tipped by many to end up as the biggest party – is aiming to win three out of the four seats in both Sighthill/Gorgie and Craigentinny/Duddingston

Group leader Frank Ross said: “Our support is definitely up and we know where it’s up. We wouldn’t put forward three candidates if our polling wasn’t supporting it. We’re not doing it just for show.”

The Tories are also aiming to be the biggest party.

Group leader Cameron Rose said: “We are the alternative to the SNP. We are the only rock solid party in favour of the union – and on the doorsteps that’s what people are telling us.

“Here in Edinburgh we have had five wasted years on waste collection and we’ve got the worst roads in Scotland. That will play well for us because we are prepared to be pragmatic and focused on solutions.”

Labour’s Andrew Burns said his party would focus first and foremost on local issues during the election.

The current council leader said: “Edinburgh Labour is promoting a positive vision for our Capital city, centred around the issues that matter to local people – jobs, housing, education, social care and transport.

“We are the first party in the city to have launched our finalised vision for Edinburgh, having consulted on a draft manifesto document for several months beforehand.”

The Greens are aiming to double their numbers. Group convenor Steve Burgess said: “Some rival parties are trying to play national political games with this election, but it’s an utterly cynical attempt to divert attention from the city’s need to have good quality, hard-working local councillors.”

Lib Dems are hoping to make a comeback after the devastating result five years ago when they were reduced from 17 seats to just three.

Group leader Robert Aldridge said the party’s confidence had been boosted by its victory in Edinburgh Western at last year’s Holyrood election. He said: “The signs on the doorstep are that people are warming again to the Lib Dem message.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com