Power-sharing agreement still to be decided in Midlothian

Midlothian Council elections count at Lasswade Centre.
Midlothian Council elections count at Lasswade Centre.

Labour are back in charge of Midlothian Council, despite having one fewer councillor elected than it did in 2012 when they lost to the SNP.

Labour won the Midlothian Council election last week with seven councillors elected, the SNP took six seats and the Conservatives five.

Janet Lay-Douglas (Con) speaks after being elected for the Bonnyrigg ward in the Midlothian Council elections.

Janet Lay-Douglas (Con) speaks after being elected for the Bonnyrigg ward in the Midlothian Council elections.

Although, with no party getting the ten seats needed for a majority, it looks as if those three parties will share the power led by Labour, with discussions continuing as the Advertiser went to press on Tuesday.

Labour group leader Derek Milligan told the Advertiser that his party could have won overall power if not for “national politics”.

With regards to forming a coalition to lead Midlothian Council he said: “I think the people of Midlothian have spoken loud and clear. There are now three clear parties and it is up to us to all work together.

“We will discuss what we will do, we genuinely believe all the political parties have to put their political differences aside and start fighting for the people of Midlothian on issues that are important locally, such as the lack of doctors and infrastructure in the county, that’s what matters.”

Midlothian South declaration in the Midlothian Council elections.

Midlothian South declaration in the Midlothian Council elections.

Midlothian MP and former Midlothian Council leader Owen Thompson (SNP) said: “We will need to take a bit of time to analyse the result. Overall we are down a couple of seats. We will continue to work on local issues, everyone knows that’s what we stand for, it’s now a case of seeing what the other parties stand for.”

With the first five wards returned at last Friday’s election count all split between the Conservatives, Labour and the SNP it was Dalkeith that decided the final outcome, with two Labour councillors and one SNP councillor elected. In Midlothian South the three councillors elected were Jim Muirhead (Lab), Catherine Johnstone (SNP)and Keiran Munro (Con). Bryan Pottinger (Lab) lost his seat here with the Conservatives gaining their first ever councillor in the ward.

In Penicuik Andrew Hardie (Con), Adam Montgomery (Lab) and Debbi McCall (SNP) were elected. Big shock here as Provost Joe Wallace (SNP) loses his seat. New councillor Andrew Hardie (Con) told the Advertiser of his delight at being elected as the first Conservative councillor for Penicuik in a quarter of a century, stating: “I feel really proud and honoured that I’m getting to represent Penicuik, the town I grew up in.

“It’s fantastic that we are back in Penicuik after 25 years. It’s clear that the people of Penicuik and across Midlothian have voted for change, and we will give them that change.”

Derek Milligan (Lab), Janet Lay-Douglas (Con) and Diane Alexander (SNP) were elected to represent Bonnyrigg. Disappointment here for the Greens with it’s only councillor Ian Baxter missing out this time.

He said: “I am naturally disappointed that I was not re-elected in Bonnyrigg. I thought I had done all the right things, delivering a twice yearly newsletter to all households, claiming no councillor expenses, engaging with community councils and parent councils, working on issues like local broadband provision and completing around 500 items of casework on behalf of constituents over the last five years.

“I also tried to break through the barriers in the council by working constructively with both SNP and Labour groups. I really am at a loss to understand what people look for from their councillors and hope my successors are more successful in identifying what it is”.

Pauline Winchester (Con), Kelly Parry (SNP) and Russell Imrie (Lab) were elected in Midlothian West. While in Midlothian East Peter Smaill (Con), John Hackett (Lab) and Kenneth-James Baird (SNP) were elected. Independent candidate Robert Hogg narrowly missed out on being elected here, coming third in the first preference vote, but slipping out of the top three by stage four. And in Dalkeith Colin Cassidy (SNP), Stephen Curran (Lab) and Margot Russell (Lab) were elected.

So the Dalkeith vote swung it for Labour at Friday’s election count. Final results Labour - seven councillors SNP - six councillors Conservatives - five councillors