Scottish Labour’s candidates in Edinburgh Western vow to work as a team to oppose cuts, fight for more funding for local communities and put forward a positive vision for the city.

At a campaign launch in South Queensferry on Saturday, the group of candidates – Nkechi Okoro, Mhairi Munro-Brian, Richard Parker and Fred Hessler – laid out plans to put a distinctive anti-cuts agenda at the heart of their campaign for the Edinburgh council elections on 5 May 2022. 

Nkechi Okoro

Nkechi Okoro, candidate for the Drum Brae/Gyle, works in social care. She said: “I worry about the future of local services for our elderly and young people. As a liaison officer for a local charity, I know that when cuts are made to council budgets, local community groups suffer as well. I will also campaign for better education, health and transport services for Drum Brae-Gyle.”

Mhairi Munro-Brian

Mhairi Munro-Brian, a Chemist for a whisky distillery who is standing in Inverleith ward, said: “Edinburgh needs full and fair funding, and it needs candidates who will fight for that. I will do everything I can to ensure Edinburgh receives proper funding and I will stand firmly against cuts to our services. I want more funding to invest in our parks, green spaces, and local shopping areas which are the lifeblood of our communities. Severe flooding in the ward has caused huge distress and I will fight to address the local effects of climate change.”

Richard Parker

Richard Parker, a local secondary school teacher and candidate for Corstorphine/Murrayfield, said: “Local government funding has been chronically hit by the Tories at Westminster and the SNP in Holyrood. The SNP’s draft budget will deliver real term cuts to City of Edinburgh Council of around £50 million over the next three years. I’m standing for election because I know that there are barriers to education that can’t be changed from inside the classroom. As your councillor I want to champion education and opportunities for young people.”

Fred Hessler

Fred Hessler, candidate in Almond ward, said: “I worry about the future of local services for our elderly and vulnerable citizens. I know from experience that when cuts are made to council budgets, local communities suffer. I have worked passionately as a Mental Health and Disability Nurse for three decades, and firmly believe that the only force for progressive change in our society is the Labour Party and the Trade Union movement.”

With the backing of local MSPs, Foysol Choudhury and Sarah Boyack, the candidates will prioritise local issues and establish a distinctive position, separating them from the austerity manifestos of the SNP and Conservatives.

Foysol Choudhury, MSP for Lothian, said: “Our candidates in Edinburgh Western are working together to fight for the issues that matter. For too long, education, housing, transport, and climate change have taken a back seat to an SNP administration focussed on managing cuts.”

Sarah Boyack, MSP for Lothian, added: “Our diverse group of candidates in Edinburgh Western are off to a flying start, speaking to voters and listening to their priorities. We are the party of cooperation and will work together to rebuild our local services.”

City of Edinburgh council elections are scheduled to take place on Thursday 5 May 2022.

Sarah Boyack MSP right and Foysol Choudhury second from left supporting the council candidates at their campaign launch in South Queensferry