Tributes paid as East Lothian Council leader Willie Innes loses battle with long-term illness

The leader of East Lothian Council, Willie Innes, has passed away following a long illness.
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The Scottish Labour councillor lost his fight for life on Sunday having been one of the local authority’s longest-serving members.

Councillor Innes first served in the then district council before the move to a unitary authority in April 1996. Representing the Preston, Seton, Gosford ward in which he lived, he was appointed leader of the East Lothian Labour Group in 2007. He was appointed council leader in 2012.

Councillor Willie Innes, who passed away on Sunday.Councillor Willie Innes, who passed away on Sunday.
Councillor Willie Innes, who passed away on Sunday.
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Flags will fly at half-mast on the Town House, Haddington, and Brunton Hall, Musselburgh, to mark his passing. A one-minute silence will be held at the meeting of the council on Tuesday October 26, along with tributes from members of all partiea. Members of the public can share their condolences at

Chief Executive, Monica Patterson said: “We are all saddened to learn of the death of East Lothian Council Leader, Councillor Willie Innes.

“Throughout his career, councillor Innes was dedicated to public service. He was a well-known figure in our political landscape and was widely respected for his commitment to East Lothian. As Leader he provided wise counsel to officers and support for many individuals, organisations and businesses across the county.

“Our thoughts are with his wife, their children and his friends and family.”

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Depute Council Leader councillor Norman Hampshire said: “I have worked alongside councillor Innes for many years as a colleague and a friend and will miss him greatly. He was dedicated to his role as a public servant and always worked to do his best for the people he represented. Throughout his decades of service he represented the xouncil and the county at every opportunity and made sure that our most vulnerable residents were at the heart of decision-making. His loss will be felt across East Lothian but not more so than by his family and those who were closest to him.”

East Lothian Council Conservative Party Leader councillor Lachlan Bruce said: “This is a sad day for East Lothian. Sharing a ward with xouncillor Innes I saw first-hand what a big part of Prestonpans he was. It was evident how much he meant to the community, and how much the community meant to him. He was a significant figure in East Lothian’s landscape and will be much missed by all who knew him.”

SNP Group Leader councillor Stuart Currie said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of councillor Innes. Willie was hugely respected by politicians from all parties including myself and was rightly highly regarded by his constituents and community as a tenacious advocate for those he served for so many years.

“I want to send my deepest condolences, and those of the SNP Group, to his family and many friends as well as to the Labour Group and party colleagues at both local and national level.”

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