A LABOUR councillor who has led campaigns to promote East Lothian has been appointed as the county’s new Provost.

Councillor John McMillan was nominated for the post at the first meeting of the new East Lothian Council on Tuesday.

His nomination was put forward by council leader Councillor Willie Innes and seconded by the new leader of the opposition, Conservative group leader Councillor Brian Small.

Mr McMillan, who was returned as a member for Haddington & Lammermuir ward at the local government election earlier this month, served as the council administration’s spokesperson for economic development and tourism over the last five years, a role he will continue alongside his position as Provost.

He aims to promote the county, continue his work to attract new investment, and highlight the value of local services in his coming term of office.

Mr McMillan said: “I am immensely proud and honoured to be elected Provost.

“In the council chamber I will always strive to build consensus, encourage reasoned debate and make sure that everyone gets a fair hearing.

“As councillors, the public expect us to represent their interests to the best of our abilities. In doing so, we must focus on the many things which unite us and our shared passion for East Lothian, which by far outweigh the issues which divide us.

“As a county we have so much to offer – our Golf Coast, leisure, history and fantastic communities to name but a few examples.

“There is a lot to build on and a fantastic East Lothian package to sell, with so many opportunities to explore.

“My top priorities are to help attract new investment, jobs, industry and more visitors to East Lothian. I believe we can do this by being innovative and creative.

“We have fantastic, hard-working staff and some real knowledge, expertise and wisdom among our ranks. Every day I see committed people working hard to do their best for the county who I am sure will raise the bar as required.”

Mr McMillan was educated at Macmerry Primary School, Ross High School and the University of Edinburgh before going on to have a long career in audit and the civil service, becoming a consultant working with organisations including the European Commission and Shell.

He takes over as Provost from Ludovic Broun-Lindsay, who stepped down from the council at the election.

Mr McMillan said: “In succeeding Ludovic Broun-Lindsay I have big boots to fill but I am grateful to colleagues for the trust placed in me and look forward to promoting and representing East Lothian to the best of my abilities.”

Mr McMillan will be supported by new Depute Provost Councillor Andy Forrest (Lab), who was also nominated for the post by Mr Innes and Mr Small.

Mr Innes was nominated to continue in his role as council leader by fellow Labour councillor Norman Hampshire, seconded by Councillor Shamin Akthar (Lab).

None of the three senior posts were challenged.

Other senior appointments to the council’s cabinet were Ms Akhtar, who continues as spokesperson for education and children’s services, and Mr Hampshire, who returns to his role as spokesperson for the environment.

Newly-elected Councillor Fiona O’Donnell (Lab), a former MP for East Lothian, will take on the role of spokesperson for health and social care, while Councillor Jim Goodfellow (Lab) becomes the spokesperson for housing and community wellbeing.

Mr Innes said: “I’m delighted that we have a capable, committed and experienced team in place to deliver for the people of East Lothian.”

Conservative group leader Mr Small, who was appointed as leader of the opposition, welcomed the Labour group’s decision to form a minority administration.

He said: “Labour’s decision to form a minority administration here in East Lothian means that they will require the support of other parties in getting things done for East Lothian.

“For our part, the Conservative group look forward to offering a robust and constructive opposition to the minority Labour administration. We will offer our help and support to those policies and measures we believe are in the best interest of East Lothian.”