More than half of Edinburgh’s Scottish Conservative Party councillors have announced that they will not be standing again in next year’s elections.
Six out of 11 of the currently standing Conservative politicians have made their resignations public this week, including: Lindsay Paterson, councillor for Almond; Jeremey Balfour, Corstorphine and Murrayfield; Mark McInness, Meadows and Morningside; Elaine Aitken, Colinton and Fairmilehead; and Dominic Heslop, Pentland Hills.
Speculation over the reasons for these dramatic departures rose with The Scotsman describing the incident as an “exodus”.
Elaine Aitken spoke to The Student, saying she was “surprised” to hear that recent events have been described as an “exodus”, and that “the Conservative Councillors who will not be standing for re-election in May next year are doing so for a variety of reasons, all personal and unique to the individuals.”
Similarly, Dominic Heslop, representing Pentland Hills, also rejected the expression. He told The Student: “One is retiring after 40 years, another after 13, one who has been elected as an MSP, another who has been sent to the House of Lords and another colleague who feels she has family and work commitments to attend to. All reasonable explanations.
“For my part, I have been involved in politics for 20 years – as an activist at St Andrews University, a Parliamentary Aide and Special Adviser in the Scottish Parliament and as a Councillor. I simply feel, having just turned 40, I’d like to pursue some other avenues.
“There is no conspiracy,” he continued, “no questions of leadership or anything else. It’s simply a genuine coincidence that six of us are going at this particular time. The benefit will be fresh blood, which I would encourage.”
Lindsay Paterson, culture spokeswoman for the Conservative group, spoke to The Scotsman, saying: “I feel I have been spreading myself a bit too thinly. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the council and I’m looking forward to supporting the next Almond candidate for the Conservatives. I’ll be out on the campaign trail soon. Maybe I will return in the future.”
Image: Chris Wild