Vote for Provost postponed

Tuesday March 27th 2018

Midlothian Council Fairfield House

Written by Phil Bowen, editor

Following the Penicuik by-election last week, which was won by Joe Wallace SNP, there was due to be a vote for the position of a new Provost today at the full council meeting. The by-election was called after the death of Labour councillor and Provost, Councilor Adam Montgomery.

However, all parties agreed to postpone the vote to allow time for the parties to have meaningful discussions between themselves. The vote will now take place at the next meeting on Tuesday 8th May.

The by-election result now means that of the the 18 Midlothian Councillors, 7 are SNP, 6 are Labour and 5 are Conservative. The Provost chairs council meetings and is also seen as the ceremonial head of the council.

The Provost vote requires that the successful candidate has an overall majority. If more than 2 candidates therefore, and if everyone voted on party lines, there would be no overall majority. Then the candidate with the lowest number of votes would be eliminated. Councillors would then be asked to choose between the two remaining candidates.Therefore, it will be interesting to see what is the outcome of the parties discussions.

It was noticeable that there was a lack of politial point scoring in today’s council meeting and more councillors than normal participated in the debates, particularly from the SNP. There appeared to be a proper debate of the issues, such as new school provision, sports pitches and Penicuik town centre regeneration with a consensus agreement in the end. Does this bode well for the future of the council?

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