LABOUR councillor Gordon Munro has been chosen to stand again as the party’s candidate in Edinburgh North and Leith at the next general election.
And within an hour of his selection he received an offer from UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to come and campaign for him.
Councillor Munro, a Leith councillor since 2003, won decisively in the internal contest with 123 votes against 34 for Leith Walk councillor Marion Donaldson and eight for local party co-chair Frances Hoole.
The seat – for years a Labour stronghold – was won by the SNP’s Deidre Brock in 2015, but her majority fell in last year’s snap election to 1625.
And Cllr Munro said he believed there was a “very good” prospect of recapturing the seat next time.
He said he felt “humbled” by his selection. “It is an endorsement not just of myself but also of last year’s manifesto For The Many Not The Few and the direction in which Jeremy Corbyn is taking the party. I’m looking forward to the fight.”
After the result became known, Mr Corbyn texted Cllr Munro: “Delighted at your selection. Looking forward to campaigning with you to return Leith to the fold!”
The next Westminster election is not due until 2022 but Labour is selecting candidates in key seats now because it is determined to be prepared for any repeat of last year’s snap election.
Cllr Munro said: “We had an election last year which no-one was expecting. We got a campaign together in five weeks which nearly won back the seat for Labour.
“Leith lost a hard-working and assiduous MP in Mark Lazarowicz in 2015. His opponent won by 5597 votes. Last time, we reduced the majority to 1625.
“To turn that around in five weeks tells you how good our campaign was.
“Our message resonated from the New Town to Leith and from Blackhall to Granton.
“That message of hope and change was heard by a lot of people.”
He said it would take hard work to win the seat, but he and the local party were prepared for it. Cllr Munro said Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and Lothian MSP Neil Findlay had also promised to campaign with him.
In 2015, Deidre Brock won Edinburgh North and Leith for the SNP by 23,742 votes to 18,145 for Labour’s Mark Lazarowicz, with the Tories’ Iain McGill third on 9378.
Last year, Ms Brock won 19,243 votes, Mr Munro 17,618 and Mr McGill 15,385.
Deputy council leader Cammy Day, who represents Forth ward, said there had been a queue to get into Wednesday’s election meeting.
“There was a huge turnout to support Gordon,” he said. “He is Leith born and bred and part of what makes Leith Leith. Everyone knows Gordon.
“He’s heavily involved in the local music scene and the festivals. He’s extremely hard-working and I know he will do a fantastic job.
“We’re confident he will take the seat back for Labour.”