Candidates battle it out for control of the Capital

Control for the Capital will be decided in May. Picture; Neil Hanna
Control for the Capital will be decided in May. Picture; Neil Hanna
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The council elections on May 4 will help determine who runs the city for the next five years. Ian Swanson continues our ward-by-ward look at the contests and how the parties might fare when voters turn out and deliver their verdict

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COLINTON/FAIRMILEHEAD

2012: Jason Rust (Con), Elaine Aitken (Con), Richard Lewis (SNP).

CANDIDATES

Scott Arthur (Lab)

Phil Doggart (Con)

Richard John Lewis (SNP)

Sara Marsden (Green)

Jason Rust (Con)

David Richard Walker (Lib Dem)

THE Tories took 52 per cent of the vote here last time and saw both their candidates elected with ease.

But Elaine Aitken. a widely respected councillor, is bowing out this time. And while Jason Rust can be pretty sure of getting back, it may be less certain that new candidate, actuary Phil Doggart – who played a key role in the local No campaign in the 2014 independence referendum – will join him.

The SNP’s Richard Lewis, convener of the city’s culture and sport committee, is fairly certain to be re-elected.

But Labour was not far behind the Nationalists in 2012 and the party has set its sights on winning a seat here.

The ward is part of Labour MSP Daniel Johnson’s Edinburgh Southern constituency.

And the party is hoping candidate Scott Arthur, a university lecturer and church elder who was heavily involved in the 2014 Better Together campaign in the area, could take a seat from the Tories.

A strong local campaign forced the scrapping of proposed boundary changes which threatened to remove Colinton Parish Church and other landmarks from the ward.

SIGHTHILL? GORGIE

2012: Eric Milligan (Lab), Catherine Fullerton (SNP), Donald Wilson (Lab), Denis Dixon (SNP)

CANDIDATES

Denis Dixon (SNP)

Catherine Fullerton (SNP)

Ashley Graczyk (Con)

Simon Hayter (SNP)

Dan Heap (Green)

Devin Scott Scobie (Lib Dem)

Carmel Smith (Lab)

Calum Strange (Scottish Libertarian Party)

Donald Wilson (Lab)

FORMER Lord Provost Eric Milligan is standing down – and the SNP is hoping to seize the chance to win an extra seat at Labour’s expense.

This is one of two wards in the city where the Nationalists are bidding to win three out of four seats.

Labour and the SNP currently have two apiece and last time the other parties were all well behind on less than ten per cent of the vote.

Labour has to contend with the general fall in support across the country and the loss of the familiar face of Cllr Milligan after more than four decades at the City Chambers.

Boundary changes also take Wester Hailes out of the ward, which will hit both Labour and the SNP, making it harder for Labour to hang on to its second seat but also arguably making it less likely the SNP can win three.

Denis Dixon and Cathy Fullerton were both elected to the council for the first time in 2012. The SNP’s third candidate is Simon Hayter, a small business owner.

Labour’s Donald Wilson, who has been a councillor since 1999 and Lord Provost for the past five years, is joined on the ballot paper by local activist Carmel Smith.

But the Tories have been talking up their chances here with community councillor and charity founder Ashley Graczyk.

The Greens also claim they could pick up a seat here, saying their candidate Dan Heap is campaigning hard on the ground. The party says the area is one of the worst affected by problems with waste collection.

INVERLEITH

2012: Lesley Hinds (Lab), Iain Whyte (Con), Nigel Bagshaw (Green), Gavin Barrie (SNP)

CANDIDATES

Nigel Bagshaw (Green)

Gavin Barrie (SNP)

James Dalgleish (Lab)

Tom Laird (Scottish Libertarian Party)

Max Mitchell (Con)

Hal Osler (Lib Dem)

Iain Whyte (Con)

Tina Woolnough (Ind)

LABOUR’S Lesley Hinds is stepping down after 33 years on the council. She topped the poll here last time with 25 per cent of the votes.

The transport and environment convener – and former council leader and Lord Provost – is the last of the Labour councillors who swept to power in the Capital in 1984, ending decades of Tory rule.

She has often been a controversial figure but has gained a reputation as an effective politician who could get things done.

Labour has chosen 20-year-old local activist James Dalgleish, from Pilton, as its new candidate. But with the general decline in Labour support and without the personal vote built up by Cllr Hinds, there is no guarantee he will get in.

The Tories put up two candidates last time and are doing so again. The long-serving Iain Whyte is almost certain to be re-elected, but it will be more of a struggle to win a second.

The SNP also fielded two candidates in 2012, but has decided to put up only one this time. That will mean Gavin Barrie, who has played a senior role in the group over the past five years, can be sure of re-election on May 4.

Green transport and environment spokesman Nigel Bagshaw, who had the third biggest share of the vote in 2012, can also be confident of being returned.

The Liberal Democrats, who did hold one of the four Inverleith seats in 2007-2012, are targeting the ward.

And community campaigner Tina Woolnough is standing as an independent, as she did in 2007 when she won 9.1 per cent of the votes.

(4 councillors)

CORSTROPHINE/MURRAYFIELD

2012: Jeremy Balfour (Con) Frank Ross (SNP) Paul Edie (Lib Dem)

CANDIDATES

Scott Douglas (Con)Gillian Gloyer (Lib Dem)

Kate Nevens (Green)

James Nisbet (UKIP)

Frank Ross (SNP)

John Ferguson Scott (Ind)

June Whitelaw (Lab)

ANOTHER City Chambers veteran is standing down here with the departure of Liberal Democrat Paul Edie, a councillor since 1994.

And Jeremy Balfour, who has been on the council since 2005 and is a former Tory group leader, is quitting after being elected as an MSP. Both parties hope to retain the seats with their new candidates.

Tory Scott Douglas, 28, is one of the party’s press officers at the Scottish Parliament. Cllr Balfour won 25 per cent of the vote last time and Mr Douglas will be hoping he can retain enough of that support to get elected without difficulty.

This has traditionally been a Liberal Democrat stronghold – Cllr Edie was one of just three city Lib Dems who survived in 2012. The party’s new candidate Gillian Gloyer is a professional election observer and has helped supervise elections in Bosnia, Latin America and Africa. She has also worked in Chile and lived for four years in Albania and wrote the only English-language tourist guide book to the country, which is now in its fifth edition. She lived in Edinburgh in the 1980s and campaigned for the late Donald Gorrie. And she has been living here again since returning to the UK in 2002.

The SNP almost equalled the Tories’ 25 per cent vote share last time, so Frank Ross – leader of the SNP group and tipped to become leader of the council after the election – can be fairly confident of

re-election this time.