FORMER Evening News editor John McLellan is to stand as a Conservative candidate in next year’s city council elections.
He has been chosen to fight the Craigentinny/Duddingston ward, where the Tories do not currently have a councillor but where the number of seats is being increased from three to four.
Mr McLellan, who had two spells editing the News – from 1997 until 2002 and from 2004 until 2009 – also served as editor of Scotland on Sunday and The Scotsman before becoming director of communications for the Scottish Conservatives in 2012. The following year he moved to be director of the Scottish Newspaper Society and also started writing a column in the News.
He said: “I’ve spent 25 years or so watching events, observing and commenting, and latterly as an Evening News columnist I really quite enjoyed getting back into the nuts and bolts of affairs and writing about what was going on, particularly on the planning and development side.
“I thought it was something I could get involved in and make a positive contribution on rather than just observing.”
The Tories declared in the summer they were bidding to become the largest party on the city council at the elections next May.
It is more than three decades since the Conservatives were last in power in Edinburgh, but they believe they can build on the party’s unexpected success in the Holyrood elections in May, when it overtook Labour to become the second largest party in the Scottish Parliament.
Some wards in the city which currently have three councillors will elect four next year as the size of the council increases from 58 to 63 as part of a shake-up of seats.
Mr McLellan said: “In a four-member ward, there would appear to be an opportunity for us to do reasonably well, but there is a lot of work to do.”