First Conservative provost for Midlothian

Midlothian Provost Councillor Peter Smaill.
Midlothian Provost Councillor Peter Smaill.

Midlothian East councillor Peter Smaill (63) has been elected as the new Provost of Midlothian, the fist Conservative to hold the role.

Following a career in private equity finance, Peter Smaill became chair of Midlothian Council’s Audit Committee in 2013 and was elected a councillor last year. He holds qualifications in law, business studies and accountancy.

Commenting on his appointment at a meeting of the full council last week the new provost said that he hoped he would “prove himself worthy of this historic office.”

He also paid tribute to his predecessor, the former provost and Labour cllr, Adam Montgomery, who died suddenly earlier this year. Cllr Smaill said that Cllr Montgomery understood that healthy discussion, debate and controversy are all important aspects of the democratic process.

Nominating Cllr Smaill, Conservative group leader Cllr Pauline Winchester said “I believe it would be very good for Midlothian to have someone like him as provost.”

The SNP group proposed former provost Joe Wallace, but Cllr Smaill took the role by seven votes to five, thanks to three Labour votes.

This led the SNP to accuse the opposition parties of an “unholy alliance”. Labour denies any secret agreement.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Balfour, Scottish Conservative MSP for Lothian has sent his congratulations to the new provost. He said: “I am delighted that Peter has been voted in as the first Conservative Provost of Midlothian. In two years, the Conservative party in Midlothian have gone from no representation on the local authority to holding the position of Provost, and this is down to the dedication and determination shown by Peter and the other four hard-working councillors in the group. This is a huge step forward for Peter and the team and I congratulate them on this achievement.”