Meet the five new MSPs just elected for Edinburgh and the Lothians

Five new MSPs from Edinburgh and the Lothians will be heading to Holyrood following the elections – including the area’s first parliamentarian from an ethnic minority.

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 10:54 am

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

Both Edinburgh Central and East Lothian were bound to elect fresh faces since the serving MSPs stood down at the election, but the SNP won both seats – taking Central, which was previously held by Ruth Davidson for the Tories and East Lothian, former Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray’s constituency.

And although the party make-up of the Lothian regional list stayed the same – three Conservatives, two Labour and two Greens – there are three new names to replace Labour’s Neil Findlay, who stood down, former Green Andy Wightman, who stood unsuccessfully as an independent in Highlands and Islands, and Tory Gordon Lindhurst, who failed to get a top place on his party’s list.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Foysol Choudhury Lab Lothian list

So meet the new MSPs:

Angus Robertson

Edinburgh Central victor Angus Robertson, 51, is a new MSP but an old hand at politics, having served 16 years as MP for Moray, a decade as the SNP's leader at Westminster and two years as the party's depute leader.

He is expected to get a key job in Nicola Sturgeon’s new Cabinet and is tipped as a potential successor when she decides to quit.

Angus Robertson SNP Edinburgh Central

He was born in London to a Scottish father and German mother and speaks fluent German, but grew up in Edinburgh, went to Flora Stevenson Primary School and Broughton High School before going on to Aberdeen University and then becoming a journalist with the BBC world service.

He joined the SNP at the age of 15 after being given a leaflet about the party's youth wing by Charlie Reid of The Proclaimers.

He served as an adviser to the SNP group at the Scottish Parliament before being elected as MP for Moray in 2001. At Westminster he specialised in foreign affairs and defence, but was also campaign director in the 2007 Holyrood election when the SNP first won power and then in 2011 when it gained an absolute majority.

After losing his Commons seat in 2017 he moved to Edinburgh and set up Progress Scotland, a pro-independence think tank.

Lorna Slater Green Lothian list

It looked as if he would face a battle with Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry to become the candidate for Central, but she pulled out after party rules were changed in a way her supporters claimed were designed to exclude her.

Foysol Choudhury

Labour’s Foysol Choudhury becomes the first ethnic minority MSP in Edinburgh and the Lothians.

He is a Bangladeshi-born British businessman and chairman of the Edinburgh and Lothian's Regional Equality Council.

Susan Webber Con Lothian list

And now he takes the list seat vacated by Neil Findlay, who stepped down at the election.

He was born in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, in 1969 and his father moved to Scotland and settled in Edinburgh in 1982.

After studying at Edinburgh University, Mr Choudhury took responsibility for the family business, which he expanded. He now has interests in catering, hospitality, finance and real estate across the United Kingdom and in Bangladesh.

He was made an MBE in the 2004 New Year Honours List for his services to the community.

Mr Choudhury was one of the founding directors and vice-chair of the Edinburgh Mela. He is also chairman of the Bangladesh Samity Edinburgh and organises annual celebrations for Bangladesh Independence Day.

He stood as the Labour candidate in Edinburgh South West at the 2017 UK general election, finishing in third place,

Paul McLennan SNP East Lothian

Susan Webber

Born and brought up in Edinburgh and educated at Juniper Green Primary and Currie High School and Edinburgh University, new Conservative list MSP Susan Webber has been a Tory councillor for Pentland Hills since 2017.

She became active in the No campaign during the 2014 independence referendum, but had always been a Conservative supporter – and she still has help from her mother delivering election leaflets.

Read More

Read More
Scottish Election 2021 results: All the winners in Edinburgh and Lothians consti...

Cllr Webber lives in Juniper Green and has a small business in the healthcare industry providing products and services to hospitals and medical professionals.

She also volunteers as a local, regional and national hockey umpire, represents East District Hockey as the women’s president and in the past has also been involved in her local residents’ committee.

As Tory transport spokeswoman she has been heavily involved in the ongoing controversy over the Spaces for People schemes in the Capital.

Lorna Slater

New Green list MSP Lorna Slater was born in the Canadian city of Calgary, Alberta, and moved to Scotland in 2000.

She is an electro-mechanical engineer working in the renewable energy sector and became politically active during the 2014 independence referendum, campaigning for a Yes vote.She has stood several times as a Green candidate for Holyrood, Westminster, the European Parliament and the city council, where she came second in the 2019 by-election for Leith Walk ward.

She was elected co-leader of the Scottish Greens, along with Patrick Harvie, in 2019.

During the election campaign, Ms Slater spoke of her love of the trapeze. A friend bought her a flying trapeze lesson for her 40th birthday and she found it “wildly addictive”.

Paul McLennan

East Lothian’s new MSP is Paul McLennan, a former SNP leader of East Lothian Council.

He worked for the Bank of Scotland for 20 years in various roles from financial adviser to corporate client manager, leaving in 2010, the same year he took over leadership of the council.

He has been the councillor for Dunbar and East Linton since 2007.

After stepping down as council leader in 2012 he became a researcher for an SNP MSP in the Scottish Parliament and now works in strategic communications.

He has also served on the board of NHS Lothian, the regional advisory board of Scottish Enterprise and the commission on school reform.

He is an elder at Dunbar Parish Church and a football coach Dunbar United Colts.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.