Queensferry councillor quits the Lib Dems

Councillor Alastair Shields - Almond ward
Councillor Alastair Shields - Almond ward

A Liberal Democrat councillor has withdrawn from the party after being dropped as a candidate for the next council elections.

Alastair Shields was defeated in the party’s selection contest for the Almond ward, with activist Kevin Lang being chosen to fight for the seat.

He said the decision left him confused but vowed to continue to sit as an independent councillor and stand for re-election in 2017 as an independent.

In a statement, he said: “I accept the result, but as far as I’m concerned I presented a strong record of action and a set of realistic objectives to the Almond ward Lib Dem membership and the majority chose to go for someone else.

“Moving forward, I have officially resigned from the Lib Dem council group and also called time on my entire party membership.

“I spent a long time working to be the type of councillor the Lib Dems needed.

“Deselection has left me confused about what the Lib Dems want, so I will leave them to it.”

Constituents have raised concerns over who is truly representing them, as Alastair Shields joins MP Michelle Thomson who resigned from the SNP and MSP Colin Keir who was deselected to run as SNP candidate for the upcoming Holyrood elections.

Queensferry and District Community Council posted on Facebook: “Now that Queensferry has an MP who has lost her party whip, an MSP who has been deselected by his party, and now a ward councillor who has also lost confidence of his party and been deselected, what do our followers feel about how we are represented?”

A heated debate ensued with many polarising comments. Some said they were pleased to have a politician who does not have to toe the party line, while others questioned their ability carry out the role as elected representative.

Chairman of Queensferry and District Community Council Keith Giblett said it was for the electorate to decide who their representation is but those who voted SNP aren’t really getting what “it said on the tin.” He said: “Is it right that people have voted for a specific party and are now not getting that? I think it weakens the Edinburgh West representation.” He added that the community council is not political but is obliged to keep the community informed.

Councillor Norman Work said he was disappointed the community council were “perpetuating the myth” that these politicians are not representing the community.

He said: “People are still carrying out their jobs and it’s sad that these views are being expressed.”