Maggie Chapman, Green councillor for Leith Walk, has announced her intention to step down as a councillor in order to focus on winning a Green seat in the North East of Scotland in the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections. She recently topped a selection ballot of North East party members to be the party’s lead candidate in the North East region. Maggie is already Rector of Aberdeen University, and will be moving to Dundee shortly.
Maggie Chapman said, “It has been a huge honour and privilege to serve and work with the people of Leith Walk for the last eight years. I am proud of my successes in introducing "Leith Decides", opening up council decision-making as chair of the petitions committee, and being the first politician in Scotland to call for the introduction of a Living Wage. I am confident that voters in Leith Walk will respond positively to our campaign to elect a successor Green councillor to continue that hard work. There are significant battles to be fought over the coming months and years, not least against austerity cuts, zero hours contracts, lack of affordable housing and inequality.
"This has been a decision I have been considering since my selection as top candidate for NE Scotland for 2016. While I am taking nothing for granted and will work hard for every single vote, I also firmly believe that we can and will win MSPs in every region in Scotland. And in that context, I think it is best to stand down now, and give the voters of Leith Walk the chance to elect one administration and one opposition councillor in the forthcoming by-election, as well as ensuring they continue to get the best possible support from local councillors."
Steve Burgess, Convenor of the Green Group on City of Edinburgh Council added:
"I thank Maggie for her work as a Green Councillor over the last eight years. We will campaign hard to ensure a new Green councillor is elected at the by-election, on a promise that only the Greens can offer a progressive and constructive opposition to the current Labour-SNP administration at the City Chambers. We'll battle for communities to have a greater say in what goes on in their area, we'll campaign for local services against funding cuts; and we'll fight to make sure promises made to Leith, on new jobs and transport, are promises delivered.
"People in Leith Walk have shown consistent and rising support for the Greens over the last 10 years and I'm sure they will want to ensure that they still have a Green councillor as one of the 4 councillors representing them."
The timing of Maggie’s resignation should mean a two-member by-election in the Leith Walk ward on 10 September, with Deirdre Brock MP having already resigned, though this is subject to confirmation by the returning officer. If confirmed, it is believed to be the first time since council voting reform in 2007 that a by election has had two places on offer, making the contest a much more open race.
Edinburgh Green Party is currently selecting a candidate to fight the by-election and a further announcement will be made after 9 July.