THE man in line to be the next leader of the city council is recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery for a brain tumour.
Tom Buchanan, widely tipped to take over as SNP group leader on the council, is said to be doing well following the operation at the Western General Hospital.
The Liberton/Gilmerton representative’s condition is understood to have come to light several months ago. He underwent the surgery to remove the tumour yesterday.
The operation, described as a significant procedure, lasted several hours and is believed to have been successful. Councillor Buchanan is said to be awake and will be recovering in hospital over the next few days.
The operation comes just five weeks before the city council elections on May 3.
Cllr Buchanan, currently the city’s economic development convener, has been widely tipped to take over from Steve Cardownie as SNP group leader and, if the Nationalists emerged with the most seats, that would make him council leader.
Although he is expected to take a few weeks off to recover, he has submitted his candidacy for the city council elections on May 3.
He is said to be determined to fight his seat in the election and hopes to return to a senior position in the new administration.
His wife, Evelyn, was described as “a rock by his side” by one friend.
Cllr Cardownie said he had been inundated with calls in recent days asking him to pass on best wishes to his colleague.
He said: “We are all delighted to hear that his operation has gone well and I understand the surgeon is happy with the procedure.
“Tom woke up from the general anaesthetic and asked for a cup of tea, which sounds like him, so that’s a good sign.
“I’ve had people from across the political divide and outwith that contacting me to ask how he’s doing. There’s been a huge amount of support and it shows the work he does transcends any political boundaries.”
Cllr Cardownie added that Cllr Buchanan was said to be keen to get back to work.
He added: “Tom is a very well-liked figure who has done a great deal in terms of looking after the wellbeing of the Edinburgh economy.
“He’s a workaholic who rises at 5.30am and devotes a huge amount of time to the council. He’s an integral part of our team and we look forward to having him back.”
Lib Dem council leader Jenny Dawe said: “On behalf of the whole Council, I wish Tom a speedy recovery.”
Labour group leader Andrew Burns said: “All my thoughts are with Tom and his family and I wish him a good recovery.”
Tory group leader Jeremy Balfour added: “We wish Tom a full recovery and hope he is back in action in the very near future.”
The Green Party’s Alison Johnstone said: “The Green group send Cllr Buchanan our best wishes and look forward to welcoming him back into the City Chambers.”
Cllr Buchanan was first elected to the city council at the last elections in 2007 and quickly emerged as a leading member of the new 12-strong SNP group and a key figure in the coalition formed by the Nationalists and the Liberal Democrats to run the city.
His position as economic development leader has placed him at the centre of many of the most important issues for the Capital as it strives to maintain its position amid the banking crisis and the economic downturn.