FORMER East Lothian MP Fiona O'Donnell is aiming to return to frontline politics. . . as an East Lothian councillor.

Ms O'Donnell (Lab) was the county's representative at Westminster from 2010 to 2015 but lost her seat to the SNP's George Kerevan.

She has now been chosen by Prestonpans and District Labour Party as one of its three Preston, Seton and Gosford ward candidates at next May's local council elections. 

East Lothian Council leader Willie Innes and branch chair Brian Weddell were also selected to stand for Labour in a ward which includes Prestonpans, Cockenzie and Port Seton, and Longniddry.

Ms O’Donnell, who is moving to the ward from Pencaitland, said: “My involvement in politics has always been driven by desire to improve people's lives and make our communities better, stronger places.

"I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to represent this area for five years as the local MP, and now hope to be able to do so as one of this ward’s councillors."

And she claimed: "It’s very clear that the SNP simply will not stand up for East Lothian’s interests.  They have failed the county time after time, not least when they were last in office here and racked up eye-watering debts at the expense of local residents.

"They also closed the police station in Prestonpans to the public and tried to foist an industrial scale energy park on Cockenzie. Labour always puts East Lothian first.”

Mr Innes is a long-standing local representative, having represented the Preston, Seton, Gosford ward since 2007 and been a councillor in Prestonpans for many years before that. He lives in Prestonpans.

While fellow Prestonpans resident Mr Weddell is a member of the town’s community council and was previously a councillor on Lothian Region. 

Mr Innes said: "It has been a great honour to represent this area on East Lothian Council for some 28 years now. I have always done my utmost for the people I represent and I’m delighted that the branch has again put its faith in me to contest next year’s election.

“The Labour Group has a very positive record on which to fight this election. Over the last four and half years we have fixed the county’s finances and protected essential frontline services from SNP Government cuts and centralisation. Protecting and enhancing key local services will remain our central mission if we are returned at next year’s election. Only Labour will be stronger for this area and the whole of East Lothian."

Mr Weddell added:“I have had the privilege of being a councillor previously and would want to hit the ground running if elected as one of Preston, Seton, Gosford’s Labour representatives. As a community councillor I already have a good understanding of the key issues facing the community and living in one of the town’s newer housing developments I would be a strong voice for local residents.

"I believe Prestonpans and the wider East Lothian has a fantastic opportunity to transform our community if we can get cruise liners to berth at Cockenzie and I am committed to doing all I can to see that delivered. I look forward to taking our positive message out to communities across the ward in the months ahead.”

More candidates for next year's council elections are expected to be announced, by all parties, in the coming weeks.