Edinburgh council election 2022: Meet the 32 new councillors heading for the City Chambers

Half the councillors who will take their seats for the first meeting of the newly-elected council at the City Chambers next week are new to the job.

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And the Class of '22 includes Edinburgh's first female BAME (black, Asian or minority ethnic) councillor, its first Portuguese councillor, a councillor of German origin, another from the Netherlands, a wheelchair user and a former Scottish Government minister.

Simita Kumar, health researcher and now SNP councillor for Southside/Newington, is originally from Fiji and came to Scotland when she was 17. On being the Capital's first BAME female councillor, she said: "In one way it is such an honour to be the first, but in other ways you think how has it taken us this long to have a BAME candidate elected? Edinburgh is so multicultural, multi-ethnic, so diverse, so it is about time we had good representation in terms of the community we serve. I'm very excited and very privileged to be one of the first."

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Martha Mattos Coelho, elected for the SNP in Liberton/Gilmerton, believes she is the first Portuguese councillor not just in Edinburgh but in Scotland. A single mother with two children, she joined the SNP after the EU referendum and is keen to ensure other New Scots feel welcome here despite Brexit.

Inverleith Green councillor Jule Bandel, 24, originally from Germany, moved to Edinburgh in 2016 and stayed on after finishing her geography degree. She works for a Scottish housing charity and was prompted to stand for the council because she was frustrated that young people’s issues were not being taken seriously enough.

Lib Dem Sanne Dijkstra-Downie, elected as a councillor for Forth ward, is originally from the Netherlands and came to Edinburgh 20 years ago as a student. She is a fundraiser for Edinburgh University with a focus on climate change and says it is important to have more people in local government who understand the struggles of parents with young families.

Elected In the same ward, new Green councillor Kayleigh O'Neill has already made her mark, posting on social media about the obstacles she faced as a wheelchair user on her first day at the City Chambers.

The SNP emerged as the biggest group after the May 5 council electionsThe SNP emerged as the biggest group after the May 5 council elections
The SNP emerged as the biggest group after the May 5 council elections
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And the new SNP councillor in Colinton/Fairmilehead is Marco Biagi, former MSP for Edinburgh Central and ex-minister for local government. He has already said he wants to use his experience in government to help Edinburgh secure good deals from Holyrood.

New Leith Walk Labour councillor James Dalgleish had to give up his job working in the council’s income and benefits team when he got elected. He admits it’s a strange step from employee to councillor and says he’s sad to leave his hard-working colleagues but delighted to have been elected. A native of Edinburgh, he’s now Labour’s youngest councillor at 26.

The Class of ‘22 includes quite a number of younger councillors. Ben Parker, the new Green councillor for Morningside, is 25 and comes originally from North Yorkshire but has lived in Edinburgh since 2015 and works for a disability housing advice charity.

Lib Dem Lewis Younie, now the party’s third councillor in Almond ward, is 25 and works as constituency assistant to Mr Cole-Hamilton.

Simita Kumar, SNP, Southside/NewingtonSimita Kumar, SNP, Southside/Newington
Simita Kumar, SNP, Southside/Newington
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Fellow Lib Dem Jack Caldwell, elected in Leith Walk, is 29 now, but had his first experience as a candidate when he was just 23, standing as an independent for Holyrood in 2016. He joined the Lib Dems after the Brexit referendum that year. Following his election, he is giving up his job as an IT technician for a small arts charity so he can be a full-time councillor.

Other new councillors bring a wide variety of experience to their new role.

Vicky Nicolson, SNP councillor in Inverleith, is a local area coordinator for the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership and has served as a community councillor.

Fiona Glasgow, the SNP’s second councillor in Pentland Hills, is a support worker for adults with learning disabilities and has a background in working in education with disadvantaged children.

Martha Mattos Coelho, SNP, Liberton/GilmertonMartha Mattos Coelho, SNP, Liberton/Gilmerton
Martha Mattos Coelho, SNP, Liberton/Gilmerton
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City Centre SNP councillor Finlay McFarlane works in small business support and has been nationally recognised for his campaigning for equal rights.

Euan Hyslop, elected for the SNP in Drum Brae/Gyle, describes himself as "barista, small business co-owner, socialist".

Stuart Dobbin, new SNP councillor in Forth, has worked in senior management in Asia and across the world.

And new Craigentinny/Duddingston SNP councillor Danny Aston works for Edinburgh East MP Tommy Sheppard and is the partner of Kate Campbell, housing convener in the last administration and re-elected as councillor for Portobello/Craigmillar.

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Leith’s new Labour councillor Katrina Faccenda is a trade unionist and campaigner, currently a research and policy adviser in the Scottish Parliament, but worked for more than 30 years in the tourism industry.

Labour’s Tim Pogson, elected in Southside/Newington, works for a housing charity and is former chair of Southside community council.

Jule Bandel, Green, InverleithJule Bandel, Green, Inverleith
Jule Bandel, Green, Inverleith

Pentland Hills Labour councillor Stephen Jenkinson is an IT specialist. Ross McKenzie, his party colleague in Sighthill/Gorgie, is a staff nurse.

Labour’s Val Walker in Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart is a retired librarian and colleague Margaret Graham, in City Centre, a childcare manager, while Jane Meagher, Labour councillor in Portobello/Craigmillar, is a retired community worker and active in many local organisations.

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Alan Beal, one of two Lib Dem councillors for Corstorphine/Murrayfield is an energy/housing consultant and Edinburgh Street Pastor, his colleague Euan Davidson a former social worker who is now an aide to Edinburgh West Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine.

Edward Thornley, elected for the Lib Dems in Drum Brae/Gyle is constituency manager in Edinburgh West. And Pauline Flannery, Lib Dem in Southside/Newington, has taught at Edinburgh University’s life-long learning department and is a self-employed theatre practitioner and teacher.

Alys Mumford, the new Green councillor in Portobello/Craigmillar, works for a women’s equality charity, having previously run an economic justice charity, and worked in schools and colleges teaching about climate change.

And Dan Heap, Green councillor for Sighthill/Gorgie is university lecturer in social policy, specialising in welfare reform.

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New Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart Tory councillor Christopher Cowdy grew up on a farm in Northern Ireland but has lived in Edinburgh since 1993. He worked as a chartered surveyor in commercial property until the financial crisis. Then he swapped roles with his wife and stayed at home to look after their children, then aged three and four, while she went back to work full time. He has since set up his own publishing business and is a Children’s Hearings panel member.

His Tory colleague in Morningside, Marie-Clair Munro, is a leading light in Women2Win, the Tory campaign to encourage and support more women candidates.

And Tim Jones. the new Conservative councillor for Portobello/Craigmillar is a former primary school teacher who later worked abroad, teaching English with the British Council in Italy, worked as a financial planning consultant with a major Scottish company in Aberdeen then moved back to Edinburgh in 2000 as a consultant in customer relations. He also write plays, his first having been performed in Edinburgh in 2014.

Read More
Edinburgh council election 2022: Full results from polling day
Kayleigh O'Neill, Green, ForthKayleigh O'Neill, Green, Forth
Kayleigh O'Neill, Green, Forth
Marco Biagi, SNP, Colinton/FairmileheadMarco Biagi, SNP, Colinton/Fairmilehead
Marco Biagi, SNP, Colinton/Fairmilehead
Lewis Younie, Lib Dem, AlmondLewis Younie, Lib Dem, Almond
Lewis Younie, Lib Dem, Almond
Katrina Faccenda, Labour, LeithKatrina Faccenda, Labour, Leith
Katrina Faccenda, Labour, Leith
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