Thursday, November 8, 2007
Politics in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, are evident in the deliberations and decisions of the city council of Edinburgh, in elections to the council, and in elections to the Scottish Parliament (Holyrood) and the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (Westminster).
Also, as Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh is host to the Scottish Parliament and the main offices of the Scottish Executive.
In the European Parliament the city area is within the Scotland constituency, which coveres all of the 32 council areas of Scotland.
The City of Edinburgh became a unitary council area in 1996, under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, with the boundaries of the City of Edinburgh district of the Lothian region. The district had been created in 1975, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, to include: the former county of city of Edinburgh; the former burgh of South Queensferry, a Kirkliston area and part of a Winchburgh area formerly within the county of West Lothian; and Currie and Cramond areas formerly within the county of Midlothian.
As one of the unitary local government areas of Scotland, the City of Edinburgh has a defined structure of governance, generally under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, with the City of Edinburgh Council governing on matters of local administration such as housing, planning, local transport, parks and local economic development and regeneration. For such purposes the City of Edinburgh is divided in to 17 wards.
The next tier of government is that of the Scottish Parliament, which legislates on matters of Scottish "national interest", such as healthcare, education, the environment and agriculture, devolved to it by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. For elections to the Scottish Parliament (at the Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh), the city area is divided between six Scottish Parliament constituencies, each returning one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), and is within the Lothians electoral region.
The Parliament of the United Kingdom (at the Palace of Westminster) legislates on matters such as taxation, foreign policy, defence, employment and trade. For elections to the House of Commons of this parliament, the city area is divided between five United Kingdom Parliamentary constituencies, with each constituency returning one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.
Scotland constitutes a single constituency of the European Parliament, in which the electorate of the City of Edinburgh participate in electing seven Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat
Alistair Darling, Labour
Nigel Griffiths, Labour
Mark Lazarowicz, Labour
Gavin Strang, Labour Co-operative
Sarah Boyack, Labour
Malcolm Chisholm, Labour
Kenny MacAskill, Scottish National Party
David McLetchie, Conservative
Mike Pringle, Liberal Democrat
Margaret Smith, Liberal Democrat City of Edinburgh Council
The Full Council comprises all of the 58 elected councillors, and for legal purposes constitutes the Local Authority. The Full Council meets once a month on a Thursday, except during recess and holiday periods and is chaired by the Lord Provost. The Full Council retains complete responsibility for:
Electing the Lord Provost and Deputy Leader of the Council;
The delegation of functions to officials including the appointment of the Chief Executive, Chief Officials, members of the Executive, Scrutiny Panels and Committees and resolving disputes;
Voting on council rules, ordinances and standing orders;
Setting the council tax, annual council budget and administering the city's capital investment programme. Full Council
The Executive is appointed by the Full Council and is composed of 13 members of the Full Council. The functions of the Executive include:
The Leadership of the Council;
Providing political accountability to the decisions of the council;
Arranging public consultation and participation in council activities;
Taking Executive decisions with the council's budget and policy framework approved by the Full Council;
Setting targets for service delivery Executive
Scrutiny Panels are responsible for monitoring the performance of the Executive, departments and external organisations which receive funding from the annual council budget. Scrutiny Panels consist of 9 members of the Full Council, who are not members of the Executive, with members drawn from all political party groups to reflect the party balance on the council.
There are seven scrutiny panels covering:
Children and young people
Leisure and cultural development
Resource management and audit
Social justice and older people. Scrutiny Panels
The Planning committee is principally concerned with issues of planning and development, including the granting of planning permission and street naming. The Regulatory Committee deals with issues such as health and safety and buildings in need of repair as well as determining individual applications for registration and licensing of food premises, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and other statutory powers. Membership of such committees reflects the party balance on the council.
Planning and Regulatory Committees
There are 6 local development committees in Edinburgh, one for each Scottish Parliamentary Constituency in the city. Councillors whose ward falls within a parliamentary constituency form the members of each local development committee. Typically, there are 8 to 10 councillors on each committee. Local Development Committees are tasked with dealing with issues that are specific to their local area and influencing the delivery of key council services including street cleaning, urban parks, libraries, local development, road maintenance, traffic and parking issues. Local committees meet several times per year. Members of the public are able to attend and question councillors on issues of specific concern.
Local Development Committees
The Council also appoints elected members to serve on:
The Licensing Board
Lothian and Borders Police Board
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Board
Lothian Valuation Joint Board
Forth Estuary Transport Authority External Committees
Elections to the council are held on a four year cycle, the last being held on Thursday 3 May, 2007.
Members of the council represent 17 electoral areas called wards. As a result of the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004, multi-member wards were introduced for the 2007 election, each electing three or four councillors by the single transferable vote system, to produce a form of proportional representation. Previously each of 58 wards elected one councillor by the first past the post system of election.
Council political composition
Multi-member wards introduced for the 2007 council election:
Following the local elections on 3 May, 2007, the representation on the council was as follows:
Almond (3 members)
Pentland Hills (3 members)
Drum Brae/Gyle (3 members)
Forth (4 members)
Inverleith (4 members)
Corstorphine/Murrayfield (3 members)
Sighthill/Gorgie (4 members)
Colinton/Fairmilehead (3 members)
Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart (3 members)
Meadows/Morningside (4 members)
City Centre (3 members)
Leith Walk (4 members)
Leith (3 members)
Craigentinny/Duddingston (3 members)
Southside/Newington (4 members)
Liberton/Gilmerton (4 members)
Portobello/Craigmillar (3 members) List of wards and councillors
For elections to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, the city is divided between five constituencies, each of which elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. All five constituencies are entirely within the city area.
Prior to the United Kingdom general election, 2005, Edinburgh House of Commons constituencies had exactly the same names and boundaries as the Scottish Parliament constituencies listed above. However, in order to reduce Scotland's historical over representation in the House of Commons, Scotland's share of constituencies was reduced from 72 to 59, in accordance with proposals drawn up by the Boundary Commission for Scotland. The Scottish Parliament (Constituencies) Act 2004 enabled Scottish Parliament constituencies to remain unaltered despite new arrangements for House of Commons constituencies, which resulted in the loss of one Edinburgh constituency and redrawing of boundaries for the others. As a result of the boundary review:
Current political composition:
Edinburgh Central constituency was abolished and split between the original Edinburgh North and Leith and Edinburgh West constituencies and an entirely new constituency that was created - Edinburgh South West.
Edinburgh East and Musselburgh took in parts of the Edinburgh North and Leith seat, with the town of Musselburgh being transferred into the East Lothian constituency, with the new seat renamed Edinburgh East.
Edinburgh Pentlands constituency was also divided between the new Edinburgh South West seat and the existing Edinburgh South seat.
Edinburgh North and Leith was increased in size by taking in parts of the old Edinburgh Central constituency.
Edinburgh South was expanded in size taking in elements of the old Edinburgh Pentlands seat.
Edinburgh South West was an entirely new constituency created for the 2005 UK general election taking in elements of the old Edinburgh Central seat, the original Edinburgh West seat and Edinburgh Pentlands seat.
Edinburgh West was expanded to include some parts of the defunct Edinburgh Central seat. Parliament of the United Kingdom
Edinburgh has been used in ten different constituency names since 1708, the date of the first election to the Parliament of Great Britain (which was merged into the Parliament of the United Kingdom in 1801). There have been up to six Edinburgh constituencies at any one time.
Two names, Edinburgh South and Edinburgh West have been in continuous use since 1885. One name, Edinburgh East, also first used in 1885, fell out of use in 1997 and returned to use in 2005.
Survival of a name does not in itself mean that a constituency's boundaries have been unaltered.
Lists of constituencies:
Constituencies since 1708
For elections to the Scottish Parliament, the city is divided between six of the nine constituencies in the Lothians electoral region. Each constituency elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the first past the post system of election, and the region elects seven additional members (also called MSPs) to produce a form of proportional representation.
One of the Edinburgh constituencies includes Musselburgh, which is outside the city, in East Lothian.
Until the United Kingdom general election, 2005, Edinburgh Scottish Parliament and Parliament of the United Kingdom constituencies were coterminous (shared the same geographical boundaries). The Scottish Parliament (Constituencies) Act 2004, a piece of United Kingdom Parliament legislation, had removed the link, to enable Scottish Parliament constituencies to retain established boundaries despite the introduction of new boundaries for United Kingdom Parliament constituencies.
In the 2007 Scottish Parliament election, the six Edinburgh constituencies elected two Labour MSPs, two Liberal Democrat MSPs, one Conservative MSP, and one Scottish National Party MSP:
The following additional members were elected to represent the Lothians electoral region:
Posted by bushganizer258 at 10:14 AM