East Lothian Labour Party has unveiled its full team of candidates for this year’s local elections on 4 May.

The party will stand 12 candidates across the six wards that make up East Lothian Council, with the aim of winning an outright majority of councillors. The candidates came together in Haddington recently to be formally unveiled as Labour’s team for the elections.

Led by Council Leader, Cllr Willie Innes, members of the team come from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, but are united in being stronger for East Lothian and the communities they will seek to serve.

In Musselburgh the party will be represented by sitting Musselburgh East and Carberry councillor Andy Forrest and first time candidate Katherine Sangster, National Manager of the Scottish Fabians. The candidates for the Preston, Seton, Gosford ward are Cllr Willie Innes, former county MP Fiona O’Donnell and Prestonpans resident Brian Weddell.

Long-standing councillor and Depute Provost Cllr Jim Gillies will lead the party’s campaign in the new Tranent, Wallyford, Macmerry ward, alongside Tranent residents and first time council candidates Fiona Dugdale and Colin McGinn.

Sitting councillors Shamin Akhtar and John McMillan will stand in the new Haddington and Lammermuir ward, while Cllr Jim Goodfellow and Cllr Norman Hampshire will again contest the North Berwick Coastal and Dunbar and East Linton wards respectively.

Speaking about the team, Cllr Willie Innes said:

“I am absolutely delighted with the team we have assembled for May’s local election. I believe we have the right blend of experienced returning councillors and new candidates to do a first rate job for local communities and on the Council.

“We will run a positive and confident campaign, highlighting our achievements protecting vital local services, improving our schools, creating jobs, caring for older people and building new affordable housing. We have a great story to tell and we will pull out all the stops to tell it as the campaign unfolds over the next few months.

“But we will also expose how SNP councillors have failed to stand up for East Lothian and how they continually do the bidding of their Edinburgh bosses. East Lothian cannot afford to have an SNP- led council doing the SNP Government’s dirty work for them here.

“Our message is clear. Only Labour will be stronger for East Lothian, protect our vital local services and always put the interests of the county and local people first.”

Iain Gray MSP, who joined the candidates on Saturday, said:

“I know these candidates and councillors well, and the most important thing is that they will always put East Lothian and their communities first. Despite seeing millions slashed from their budget each year by SNP Ministers, Willie and his current team have done an amazing job over the last few years. Above all they have prioritised protecting the vital frontline services relied upon by so many county residents.

“I am standing up for East Lothian in parliament against an SNP government who always put the County to the back of the queue. To do that effectively I need local councillors who will also stand up for East Lothian against that government, and not just meekly accept whatever SNP ministers tell them.

“Everyone in the party is very pleased with the quality of candidates we’re putting forward in this election. Each of them brings something positive to the team and they will all be great champions for the areas they are seeking to represent, none more so than Willie himself.

“It says a lot about the enduring strength of Labour in East Lothian that we are able to field such a strong group of candidates. I look forward to campaigning with them over the next few months to help ensure we elect a full team of Labour councillors here on 4 May.”

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