East Lothian Labour’s council candidate selections have started, with the sitting councillors in two wards selected to represent the party again next May.

Members in the Haddington branch backed councillors Shamin Akhtar and John McMillan to stand again for Labour in the Haddington and Lammermuir ward. Meanwhile, the Tranent branch has chosen Fiona Dugdale and Colin McGinn to continue as the party’s candidates for the Tranent/Wallyford/Macmerry ward.

Ms Akhtar, who lives in Pencaitland, and Mr McMillan, a Haddington resident, have been councillors since 2012, while Ms Dugdale and Mr McGinn, who both live in Tranent, were first elected in 2017.

Speaking after the selection meeting, East Lothian’s Provost and cabinet spokesperson for economic development and tourism, Cllr John McMillan said:

“The last 18 months have been incredibly difficult for the communities and people we represent. I believe that local people have responded in a remarkable way to help look after, support and care for their communities and neighbours. 

“The Council has also delivered in deeply challenging circumstances and I’m proud of the response of Council staff to the emergency and how they have worked with partners, stakeholders and key agencies to support local business and secure jobs. The leadership of the Labour administration has also been a key element of that delivery and I hope to have the privilege of continuing to be part of that team and representing this ward at the election.”

Council health and social care lead, Cllr Shamin Akhtar said:

“Representing the community where I live is a great honour and one I have never taken for granted. I have always sought to work as hard as possible for local people and stand up for the interests of local communities.

“We have faced an unprecedented crisis which has caused huge problems for many local people, businesses and organisations. It’s going to take years to recover fully and our message at next year’s election is that we will be entirely focused on that recovery for as long as it takes.”

Cllr Fiona Dugdale, the cabinet spokesperson on education and children’s services, said: 

“I have thoroughly enjoyed representing and working with the people across this ward over the last four and a half years.  While Covid has made it difficult to do some of the things we would have liked to have seen happen, I believe we have achieved a great deal for the people who call this part of East Lothian home.

“We have delivered a new state-of-the-art primary school for Wallyford, with a secondary school also on the way, built a new community facility for Whitecraig and invested heavily in school improvements in Tranent. Our aim at the election will be to continue this record of delivering for local communities.”

Fellow ward councillor, Colin McGinn said:

“As a lifetime Tranent resident, I have been honoured to represent and speak up for the communities that make up this ward since 2017. The pandemic has been a challenging time for everyone, but I am immensely proud of how local people have responded and looked out for each other.
“While I believe we have seen a lot of positive progress, especially in education, we also have big plans for future improvements across the ward. I look forward to campaigning on these ambitious plans over the months ahead and hope people will put their faith in us again next May.”

Local Labour branches will continue selecting candidates in other wards over the next few months.

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