19 August 2007

Another resignation

Davie Hutchison brings news that Stefan Tymkewycz is intending to stand down as a Regional MSP for Lothian to concentrate on his Council work. Needless to say, Labour are going "Ooo! Ooo!" over dual mandate politicians - conveniently forgetting the Westminster balancing act performed by George Foulkes - but I don't see a problem with someone being an MSP and a Councillor. After all, you can be anything else and a Councillor, so why should being a Parliamentarian be any different? However, these days some people are quitting their previous employment to concentrate on Council work, so perhaps the good Councillor is onto something. And if you are expected to have full-time MPs, MSPs and MEPs, why should Councillors be part-timers? Labour are bragging about their rules barring people from standing for the Council AND Holyrood, so they have avoided this clash altogether. There might be something in that for other parties to think about.

Anyway, standing down from Holyrood to focus on Edinburgh Council might seem an odd move, but there is some logic to it. The LibDem-SNP Coalition has only 29 seats on a Council of 58, and its majority is derived from a casting vote by the Lord Provost, George Grubb. A lost by-election (and an SNP hold here wouldn't be easy) would put the Coalition into the minority, especially as voters don't like avoidable By-Elections.

His successor is Shirley-Anne Somerville, who was the SNP's candidate in Edinburgh Central, which is now a three-way marginal held by Sarah Boyack. Now, if there is an Edinburgh Central in 2011 (remember that the boundary changes will take place), it will probably be quite different from the current seat, by dint of the fact that by my reckoning, Edinburgh would be entitled to six larger-than-average Constituencies or six wholly with in the City's boundary and one shared with another Council. This is an increase from the five-and-a-bit seats the City currently has. However, being in the Parliament will give Shirley-Anne Somerville an edge in Central, or whichever Constituency that she goes for. Sarah Boyack should start looking over her shoulder.

1 comment:

Sir James Beiggelschwarz said...

It's a different ball game up your way.