Seven Edinburgh Tory councillors to stand down at elections in May

Seven of the Capital's 17 Tory councillors have announced they will not be standing for re-election in May.

By Ian Swanson
Thursday, 6th January 2022, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 6th January 2022, 6:29 am

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In addition to Almond councillor and transport spokesman Graham Hutchison, education spokesman Callum Laidlaw, a councillor for Portobello/Craigmillar since the last election, said he was stepping down because his husband was relocating and they would be moving away from Edinburgh.

He said: “It has been a great privilege to serve the people of Portobello/Craigmillar since 2017 and it is with sadness that I can confirm I am not standing for re-election.

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Stephanie Smith had a baby in December

"Due to my husband’s work commitments we are looking to move from Edinburgh to the South East of England.

"I will continue to serve my constituents and the people of Edinburgh up until the election and support the new Conservative candidate once selected.”

Councillor Laidlaw made a bid to become an MP at the last Westminster general election in 2019, standing against the SNP's Joanna Cherry in Edinburgh South West, and also fought Edinburgh Northern & Leith at the 2021 Holyrood election.

Stephanie Smith, who has been a councillor for Liberton/Gilmerton since 2017, is standing down after having had a baby in December.

Callum Laidlaw is moving to England

She was the Tory candidate in Edinburgh South at the 2017 general election and previously fought Almond Valley at the 2016 Holyrood election.

She said she wanted to concentrate on looking after her new arrival.

"We're so excited to have him here, I want to just focus on him rather than have to focus on an election. I think this is the right time for me to just take a bit of time for family,” she said.

But she is not ruling out a return to politics in the future. "I'm keeping all options open."

Sue Webber will stand down as councillor for Pentland Hills after being elected to Holyrood as a Lothians list MSP last May. She became a councillor at the last elections in 2017 and after winning her seat in the Scottish Parliament said she would complete her council term but not seek re-election.

Morningside councillor Nick Cook announced some time ago he would not be standing again in May. The former transport spokesman will have served ten years as a councillor by the time of the election, having been first elected for Liberton/Gilmerton in 2012 before switching to Morningside in 2017.

Former Evening News editor John McLellan, who was elected councillor in Craigentinny/Duddingston in 2017, announced in November he had decided to stand down to concentrate on his newspaper and journalism activities.

And Scott Douglas, a councillor for Corstorphine/Murrayfield since 2017, will also stand down. He was the Tories' candidate in Ruth Davidson's former seat of Edinburgh Central at the 2021 Holyrood elections but lost it to the SNP's Angus Robertson. Announcing his decision in September, Councillor Douglas said he found it increasingly difficult to combine his council role with a full-time job. But he also voiced his frustration at "dealing with administration councillors who think they know better than the people and communities they are elected to represent".

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