The leader of the city council Andrew Burns today announced he is to quit politics completely at next year’s local elections.
He said the decision to stand down after nearly 18 years as a councillor was “entirely personal” and nothing to do with the state of the Labour Party.
Councillor Burns became Labour group leader in 2008 and has headed the city’s Labour-SNP coalition since 2012. He will stay in office up until the elections next May, but said he had decided to go while he still had ten or 12 years of working life.
Mr Burns said “I simply want to focus on other interests in the next few years of my life. Nothing more, nothing less.
“I’ll be 53 in a few months’ time, and would be – if successfully re-elected – over 58 at the end of the next council term in 2022.
“I want to move on and do something else with my life, which has nothing to do with politics whatsoever.”
Several other Labour councillors, including former Lord Provost Eric Milligan, have already announced they will stand down next May.
The Labour group will not elect a new leader to replace Cllr Burns until after the elections. The party’s recent poor electoral performance nationally and the SNP’s continued popularity has led to speculation that the Nationalists are likely to replace Labour as the biggest party at the City Chambers next May.
And Cllr Burns – who was brought up in the west of Scotland – said he would not be leaving the Capital. “I absolutely adore this city,” he said. “It has its challenges like any city but it is one of the pre-eminent cities in the whole of Europe.
“I love it and I’m sure I will be here for the rest of my life.”