Leading councillor opts out of SNP contest to become candidate for Edinburgh Central
City education vice-convener Alison Dickie said it had been a hard decision but she had opted instead to throw her hat into the ring for Edinburgh Southern.
Ms Dickie was the candidate in Central at the last election in 2016 when the seat was won by Ruth Davidson for the Tories.
And the fact her Southside Newington ward straddles the two constituencies meant she could have made a bid for either.
But a fierce battle is already under way for the Central nomination which originally pitched former Westminster leader Angus Robertson against current Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry, until a rule change requiring sitting MPs to quit Westminster before standing for Holyrood led Ms Cherry to pull out.
Former Scottish Government minister Marco Biagi, who held the seat for the SNP until stepping down in 2016, has now put his name forward.
And party activist Lee-Anne Menzies is also seeking the nomination.
Ms Dickie said she could have put her name in for both Central and Southern seats, but felt it was right to concentrate on one, so had to choose.
She said: “It was difficult to make the decision. I was getting encouragement from both sides. I took the advice of a lot of good friends and supporters and put it altogether, balanced the different support and that’s the decision I made.
“For the past three years, I’ve had the privilege of working hard for the fantastic people right across Southside Newington, and especially in areas like Prestonfield that have won my heart.”
Ms Dickie spent ten years as an official at the Scottish Parliament, working for presiding officers George Reid and Alex Fergusson, including spells private secretary and international and European officer.
But she got frustrated at having to remain above the political fray and quit to train as a teacher. She taught P7 pupils at East Craigs Primary School until she was elected as an SNP councillor in 2017.
The SNP’s selection process for candidates for next May’s Holyrood elections were halted by the coronavirus crisis, but a timetable has now been set for local parties to choose their standard-bearers.
There is a September 14 deadline for hopefuls to declare their interest.
Would-be candidates must then attract the backing of at least 50 members on line by September 23 to be able to continue to the next stage.
There will then be online hustings before members vote between October 2 and 16.
Catriona MacDonald, who fought Edinburgh South at last year’s general election, is expected to be a strong contender for the Edinburgh Southern candidacy.
City council transport and environment convener Lesley Macinnes has also been mentioned as a likely contender.
And disabled activist Dylan Roberts has already launched his campaign to become the candidate.
He said: “I am a wheelchair user but that has not stopped me from running. I want more disabled people in front line politics. I will try to be the first person in a wheelchair to get elected to the Scottish Parliament. I want to be judged on my political views and time in office but not my disability.”
Edinburgh Southern is currently held by Labour’s Daniel Johnson, who ousted previous SNP MSP Jim Eadie by a majority of 1,123 in 2016.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.
Subscribe to the Edinburgh Evening News online and enjoy unlimited access to trusted, fact-checked news and sport from Edinburgh and the Lothians. Visit https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.
By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.