According to information passed to the3towns, two former Labour MSPs could be looking for seats on North Ayrshire Council.
Allan Wilson, who represented Cunninghame North from 1999 until 2007, and Irene Oldfather, MSP for Cunninghame South between 1999 and 2011, are believed to be considering standing at next May’s Council Election. Mrs Oldfather was a North Ayrshire councillor before being elected to the Scottish Parliament.
Speculation within Labour ranks revolves around Mrs Oldfather looking to stand in Kilwinning, where it is understood the two current Labour councillors may not seek re-election next year. One of the councillors, Margaret MacDougall, was surprisingly elected to the Scottish Parliament last May as a Labour List MSP for West of Scotland: the other is Mrs Oldfather’s son, Ryan.
In the information passed to the3towns, it is also speculated that former Enterprise Minister Allan Wilson could be interested in representing his home town of Kilbirnie, as a councillor for the Garnock Valley seat that also includes Beith. However, at the last Council Election in 2007, Labour only secured one councillor in this seat, which would mean Mr Wilson possibly attempting to unseat Cllr John Bell, currently the Education portfolio-holder on NAC’s ruling Labour Executive.
Mr Wilson lost the Cunninghame North seat to the SNP’s Kenneth Gibson at the 2007 Scottish Parliament Election, and failed in his attempt to re-take the constituency for Labour earlier this year. Mrs Oldfather was beaten by Margaret Burgess of the SNP last May.
Meanwhile, North Ayrshire Council’s Chief Executive Elma Murray, also the area’s Electoral Returning Officer, has invited prospective Council candidates to make contact with the local authority.
Next year’s election will take place on Thursday, May 3, and will see 30 councillors elected across the district. Two Wards covering the Three Towns – Saltcoats & Stevenston and Ardrossan & Arran – will each elect four councillors using the Single Transferable Vote system of Proportional Representation.
Ms Murray said, “Although there is some time until the elections, we have already begun our planning to ensure the election goes as smoothly as possible.
“I am keen to identify any prospective candidates, to ensure they are invited to attend a briefing on arrangements for the election in North Ayrshire.” The proposed date for the briefing is Saturday, February 18 2012.
Elma Murray continued, “Political parties will have their own processes for choosing candidates and I expect that party candidates will be announced over the coming months. These candidates will be invited to the briefing.
“Anyone who may be thinking about standing as an independent candidate in any of the eight electoral wards should also get in touch with the Election Office to ensure they are invited to the briefing.”
Prospective candidates for the elections are asked to contact the Council's Election Office on 01294 324130 or 324133, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org