Voters are set to go to the polls tomorrow in the Torry/Ferryhill by-election, with political parties eyeing the results ahead of next month’s General Election.
Seven candidates from across the political spectrum, including an Independent candidate, are vying to be elected to Aberdeen City Council following the resignation of SNP councillor Catriona Mackenzie.
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A change to the balance of power in the Town House is an impossibility at this time with only one spot up for grabs and the ruling Conservative/suspended Labour/Independent administration holding a majority of two.
The area is currently represented by SNP councillor Christian Allard, Scottish Conservatives’ Alan Donnelly and Aberdeen Labour member Yvonne Allan, one of nine councillors still suspended by Scottish Labour.
A by-election in Bridge of Don last month saw a Conservative and SNP councillor elected to the local authority, after the Tories topped the polls with the SNP second.
Home: Midstocket, Aberdeen
Previous political experience: Local party volunteer/activist
Key Issue: There are a number of distinct issues in both Torry and
Ferryhill and I have done my best to discuss these directly with residents over recent weeks
What is your best quality? Honest and sincere
What is your worst quality? Bit of a perfectionist
Message to voters: I will listen to residents and actually act on their concerns
Party: Scottish Green
Home: Torry, Aberdeen
Previous political experience: Trade union official, campaigning and representing members across north-east Scotland covering both public and private employers
Key Issue: Stopping the £150 million incinerator
What is your best quality? Honest
What is your worst quality? Too honest
Message to voters: Torry has had one unwelcome development after another. It’s grossly unfair that so many pollution sources have been concentrated in a small residential area of the city. There is a very strong link between industrial pollution, health inequalities and social deprivation. The folk in Torry have been sacrificed for the benefit of the rest of the city. We got the sewage and the rubbish, so the rest of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire didn’t have to. It’s now time for Torry to let this council know we are serious about stopping the incinerator.
Address: Torry, Aberdeen
Job: Pipe welder
Previous political experience: I was chosen as a candidate by my party
to stand in the recent EU elections for this area
Key Issue: UKIP representatives do not follow a party whip. That means I am free to best represent the views of the local community that I represent on major issues, whatever they might be, and be a strong voice for their concerns.
What is your best quality? Probably not for me to comment upon but I would like to think integrity, common sense and a sense of realism
What is your worst quality? Possibly irritation and impatience with politicians not listening to what real people want done
Message to voters: I am not a career politician, but I believe in the democratic system of Goverment. I am fed up of politicians saying they are listening then doing the opposite. With your backing, I can be your voice in the council. I live, work and socialise in the community I seek to represent
Party: Scottish Conservative and Unionist
Job: Currently retired. Previously served as a police officer before working for the Scottish Association for Mental Health delivering the National Suicide Prevention
Programme in the north-east
Previous political experience: None
Key Issue: This election is about fairness and making people feel their voice is being heard
What is your best quality? I have a flair for working with people with views that are different to mine
What is your worst quality? Working at a pace others find hard to follow. I should learn to slow down!
Message to voters: My working life has been dedicated to helping others. I passionately believe in services that support people, especially those struggling with mental health.
Party: Scottish Liberal Democrats
Home: City centre, Aberdeen
Job: I’m a community, transport and environment activist
Previous political experience: With Ruthrieston Residents’ Association, I successfully campaigned to transform Ruthrieston Community Centre into what is now a thriving community venue, of which I remain as a trustee. With Aberdeen Friends of the Earth, I successfully campaigned for the first city centre wide 20mph zone in Scotland, and with neighbourhood watch groups I have worked to tackle antisocial behaviour in the community and improve street lighting.
Key Issue: I would focus on ensuring the council gets the basics right and gives residents the services they deserve and expect
What is your best quality? I like problem solving
What is your worst quality? I probably drink too much coffee
Message to voters: As your councillor I will fight for fairer Scottish Government funding for Aberdeen that allows the council to provide better services. Allowing the council to tackle the backlog of potholes, improving gritting of pavements/cycle paths/roads to prevent falls and injuries, and ensuring street lighting is well designed and promptly repaired to make people feel safe out and about.
Party: Scottish Labour
Home: Ferryhill, Aberdeen
Previous political experience: Councillor for 10 years (2007-2017). Convener of the finance, policy and resources committee (2012-2017) – responsible for the delivery of projects such as the new P&J Live, the Art Gallery, the AWPR, Orchard Brae School, Lochside Academy and 179 new council homes
Key Issue: Delivering on priorities for local people, i.e. bringing buses back under local authority control; delivering 2,000 additional council homes; working with communities to oppose workplace parking levies and ensuring the views of Torry/Ferryhill residents are truly represented within the council
What is your best quality? I have the drive and determination to get things done and make things happen
What is your worst quality? Impatience
Message to voters: This election is not the General Election, therefore the focus should be on local issues. As Finance Convener I ensured the Council was investing in both the people and the place. As a result of that investment, residents are now able to enjoy P&J Live, the upgraded Art Gallery, new schools and community centres. If elected I will ensure the promised 2,000 new council homes and the new Torry school and community hub are delivered
Home: Torry, Aberdeen
Job: Not given
Previous political experience: Former volunteer chair of planning and transport for the Community Council Forum
Key Issue: We must protect council services – getting potholes filled, drains cleared and not wasting money on questionable projects like the incinerator. Reforming the council is key to saving money – I seek to reopen ‘wall-gate’ and other goings-on, while representing our community full-time
What is your best quality? Not given
What is your worst quality? Not given
Message to voters: Message to voters: I will work full time here in Aberdeen for our community – putting residents first. I’m concerned that the current Council Chief executive Angela Scott believes her first duty is to the (London) stock exchange. We need scrutiny, transparency and accountability to reforming the council. Let’s spend money on things we need and not expensive vanity projects. We can improve our council.