New Edinburgh Tory MSP Susan Webber will stay on as city councillor while taking up her seat at Holyrood
New Tory MSP Susan Webber plans to continue in her role as a city councillor as well as taking up her seat at Holyrood.
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She said she was keen to carry on her work as the party's transport spokeswoman at the City Chambers, highlighting concerns about Spaces for People schemes cross the city, and it was only a year until the next council elections, when she would stand down.
But she said she would not be taking two salaries, donating her councillor's allowance to two local charities.
Cllr Webber stood as a candidate in Edinburgh Western in last week's election finishing in third place, but was elected as a Conservative list MSP for Lothian.
She said she did not expect to be needed for crucial votes at the City Chambers and Holyrood at the same time.
And she revealed that as long as the council continued to hold committee meetings online she planned to log in from the parliament. “While our council is in a blended mode I will be taking part in council meetings from the Holyood office.”
But she said she had told her council colleagues that parliament had to come first.
“I don't know what my commitments are going to be at parliament yet, but they know that's my priority.”
However she said she would stay on as councillor for Pentland Hills and wanted to see through her work on the controversial Spaces for People measures and proposals to make some of them permanent.
“Looking at where I'd got to with Spaces for People, it makes sense I stay on the transport committee just for the continuity given the result of that consultation is coming in June.
“As it's got such a link into the economic recovery of the city it's very much part and parcel of my role as regional MSP to make sure our city is ready for recovery and isn't being hampered.”
She said she and fellow Pentland Hills Conservative councillor Graeme Bruce worked well together. “He knows there'll be a bit more give and take this year. and the communities are very aware as well of my dual role now, certainly from the feedback I've been getting.
"There are a number of us that are doing it and it’s been done in the past. It's one year.
"The turmoil of a by-election and for the length of time they'd be in post it would be foolish to stand down, given I’m so entrenched in the community. I can represent this part of the city as an MSP on the regional list and be a local councillor.”
And she said she would be raising concerns over Spaces for People in parliament.
"We're 15 months on now from the start of the pandemic and the council continues to put down new schemes. You have to challenge the legitimacy and the need for them, given the premise for the programme was social distancing. How many millions have we got vaccinated now? There's a further easing of restrictions on May 17 and the city is wanting to move on and get back to normality.
“No-one is universally against all of it – the legislation and guidance had good intentions – but across the rest of Scotland people are taking them out and we're putting more in.”