Leading figures within East Lothian Labour Party have reacted to the sad passing yesterday (Sunday 24th October) of Cllr Willie Innes, Leader of East Lothian Labour Group and East Lothian Council.
Colin Yorkston, Chair of East Lothian CLP, said:
“This is a very sad day for East Lothian Constituency Labour Party and everyone who knew and worked with Willie, but especially for his family and friends. On behalf of everyone in East Lothian Labour, I pass on our condolences to them at this terribly sad time.
“Willie was always driven by his belief that a fairer, more equal society is achievable and something to strive for. His work as a councillor exemplified the best of public service. He helped thousands of people over the years and was much-loved for the significant difference he made.
“He was also a great servant to East Lothian Labour Party, latterly as the leader of the Labour Group and the Council. Local Labour supporters will never forget his contribution to our party and he will be sorely missed.”
Martin Whitfield, MSP for South Scotland and former MP for East Lothian, said:
“Willie was a remarkably dedicated, caring and intelligent public servant who represented his constituents with great distinction. He was only interested in how he could help improve Prestonpans and East Lothian and make life better for local people.
“That commitment shone through in everything he said and did over the many years he served on East Lothian Council. On a personal level, he was a wonderfully knowledgeable and sensible source of advice and support, as well as being great fun, and I was proud to call him a friend.”
Cllr Norman Hampshire, Depute Leader of East Lothian Council, 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 Council 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.”
Iain Gray, who worked closely with Cllr Innes during his 14 years as East Lothian’s MSP, said:
“East Lothian in general and Prestonpans in particular has lost a great servant. Willie was a brilliant, determined and ferocious advocate for the people and communities he represented for so many years. As for East Lothian Labour Party, we have lost the best of us, and we know it. Our heart is broken.”