Senior SNP councillor Stefan Tymkewycz has announced he is to stand down at the local elections in May after ten years representing Craigentinny-Duddingston ward.
He said he now lived outside the Capital and believed councillors seeking to represent communities should be based in the area. But he said he would not be giving up politics altogether.
Councillor Tymkewycz, a former Metropolitan police officer, was elected in 2007 – and became an MSP the same day. He had been number five on the SNP’s top-up list for Lothians and had no expectation of finding himself at Holyrood, but the election result gave the SNP a total of 47 seats to Labour’s 46.
“I think I was the second last MSP to be elected in
Scotland,” he said. “Dave Thompson in the Highlands was the last and that put us one ahead of Labour and made us the biggest party.
“I knew I was going to get elected to the council, but getting elected to Holyrood from fifth place on the list was a bit of a surprise and I was also hands-on running my own business at the time, so I was trying to juggle the three things.”
He decided to quit the Scottish Parliament after four months to concentrate on the council. “It was a straightforward decision. The trappings of the parliaments didn’t affect my decision in any way. My aim had been to get elected to the council and that’s what I committed my time to.
“One of the main reasons I’m giving up is that I now live with my partner in Midlothian, and I strongly believe that councillors should live in or nearby their local community.”
He said he was pleased that the final budget he will help to pass includes cash for the new Meadowbank sports centre.
“I was part of the campaign to save Meadowbank ten or 11 years ago – it would have been flattened, but we saved it. The budget we will hopefully pass today will give £7.9 million capital funding for the new state-of-the-art Meadowbank.”
But he said he had one disappointment as his time on the council draws to a close.
“After six or seven years of pursuing the statutory notice fiasco, there is a review under way at the moment. But I’m disappointed no-one was ever brought to account for it.”