New council leader for Midlothian

Tuesday June 23rd 2015

Catherine Johnstone

At a full council meeting today Councillor Owen Thompson announced he was stepping down as both leader and an SNP councillor for Midlothian West following his election as a Member of Parliament for the Midlothian Constituency. His resignation as leader is with immediate effect while he will officially step down as a councillor on Wednesday 1 July.

Councillor Thompson said Midlothian is now widely recognised as a progressive, forward-looking authority. To ensure this progress is maintained, strong leadership is required. “I will not be able to do this along with my new role as an MP,” he said. Cllr Thompson thanked the chief executive, Kenneth Lawrie, senior management and council staff for their help and support.

He added that he was delighted to propose Cllr Johnstone as leader and he is looking forward to working with her in his new role as an MP.

The date of the resulting by-election will be fixed by the Returning Officer.

Councillor Johnstone was voted in as Cllr Thompson’s replacement.

She said: “It’s a huge privilege, an honour and a great responsibility to take on this post. I will do it to the best of my ability for the people of Midlothian.” She went on to thank Cllr Thompson for his leadership.

Cllr Thompson was elected to Midlothian Council in November 2005 at the Loanhead by-election. At this time he was the youngest councillor in Scotland. Cllr Thompson was successfully re-elected in both 2007 and 2012 becoming leader of Midlothian Council in 2013.

Cllr Johnstone was elected as an SNP councillor to serve the Midlothian South ward in 2012. She is currently a member of the cabinet for children’s services and adult social care.

Cllr Johnstone, who has two children and two grandchildren, lives in Newtongrange. Before being elected, she previously worked as a homelessness officer with the council.

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