Ex-Lib Dem councillor to quit at next election

Alastair Shields

Alastair Shields

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A COUNCILLOR who quit the Liberal Democrats to sit as an independent has given up his campaign to get re-elected.

Alastair Shields, who represents Almond ward, had planned to stand again as an independent at next May’s council elections and began campaigning around the doors in the summer.

But now he has announced he will not after all be bidding for another term at the City Chambers.

He said: “Come May I have decided after much thought to call it a day – or five years it will be by then – as an Edinburgh councillor.”

But he did not rule out returning to local politics in the future.

Councillor Shields, 32, who works for a recruitment company, said his decision to stand down next year was “career-related”.

He said: “I guess a lot of people at my age have career ambitions or opportunities which they wish to pursue.

“It is an honour to have served one of Europe’s most popular and renowned cities at such a young age.

“Naturally, there is also the all-important need to spend more time with those closest to me.

“I’ve enjoyed every moment of the time I have served. The people of the Almond ward have been a joy to serve.

“But after long deliberation and discussion recently with my nearest and dearest, the decision now is to stand aside next year when my term ends.”

He said he would have been confident of “doing well” in the election if he had stood.

And he added: “It’s not as if I can’t come back in the future. There might be an opportunity and I would never rule it out.”

Cllr Shields resigned from the Lib Dems at the end of last year after he lost an internal selection contest for next year’s council elections.

Local members chose leading Lib Dem activist Kevin Lang to be the candidate instead of him.

Cllr Shields said at the time: “I presented a strong record of action and a set of realistic objectives to the Almond ward Lib Dem membership and the majority chose to go for someone else.

“I spent a long time working to be the type of councillor the Lib Dems needed and proclaimed about at party conferences and on people’s doorsteps – hard-working, standing up for community empowerment and fighting local causes.

“Deselection has left me confused about what the Lib Dems want, so I will leave them to it.”

Cllr Shields is the latest to join a growing exodus of councillors not seeking re-election in May.

Former Lord Provosts Eric Milligan and Lesley Hinds, council leader Andrew Burns, Deputy Lord Provost Steve Cardownie, education convener Paul Godzik, former Lib Dem leader Paul Edie and long-serving Conservative councillor Allan Jackson are among those leaving.