BELOW are brief statements from the eight candidates standing for election in the North Berwick Coastal ward at the East Lothian Council election on Thursday, May 5.

Three of them will be elected.

North Berwick Coastal, which includes North Berwick, Aberlady, Gullane, Dirleton, Fenton Barns and Whitekirk, currently has 2 Conservative councillors and 1 Labour councillor.

Candidates are listed below in alphabetical order.

Liz Allan (SNP)

East Lothian Courier:

BORN in Glasgow and raised in Manchester, for 20 years I taught in Egypt, Iraq, Sicily and beyond. In Iraq, I ran a school 40 miles from Mosul. I am currently teaching English online to those displaced from Ukraine. I returned to East Lothian to care for my father and to study for my masters, focussing on the effects of the pandemic on education. My day job, for Paul McLennan MSP, involves helping constituents across East Lothian. Across the world I have witnessed the strength and resilience of local communities that underpins our being. Providing a good education and a range of job opportunities for our children, ensuring our sick and vulnerable are cared for. I want to work with the Scottish Government to deliver skilled jobs, enrich the local economy, and make East Lothian a leader in green energy. Our communities are our foundation, let's build on them together.

Alison Carter (Scottish Family Party)

East Lothian Courier:

I AM A RETIRED social worker, living in East Lothian, with three grown children and four grandchildren. If you share my concern to support families, I ask for your vote in the local council election. The Scottish Family Party will focus on the needs of local people sidelined during the pandemic. The days of Covid-19 as an excuse for poor or non-existent services must be over. We oppose unnecessary state interference in family life and promote stable relationships by encouraging marriage. We are a pro-life party, defending the rights of the unborn and opposing assisted suicide legislation. These days many people are afraid to say what they really think but we want to restore genuine freedom of speech. We support the right of parents to bring up and educate their own children according to their beliefs. If you share these values then give us your vote on May 5.

Jacq Cottrell (Greens)

East Lothian Courier:

I LIVE in North Berwick with my husband and two sons, both at North Berwick High School. I advise governments in developing countries on inclusive green economy policies, working for the United Nations and national development agencies. I would love to bring the exciting ideas I have encountered all over the world to East Lothian and use them to raise climate ambition in the county. Think global, act local! I believe local empowerment delivers better outcomes. Community councils should have a say in health and social care decision-making to prevent poor decisions like the temporary closure of the Edington Hospital. Young people should be involved in school committees and in local decision-making, so that their concerns are represented. Councils should listen when residents ask them to stop spraying harmful chemicals. Businesses should engage when customers express concern about nets that prevent endangered house martins from nesting. If elected, I will do my utmost to realise this community vision.

George Cowen (UKIP)

East Lothian Courier:

MY NAME is George Cowen and I am a retired newsagent and postmaster. As the UKIP candidate, it is our view that even at local level, none of the mainstream parties fully appreciate the paramount significance of small local businesses. Local businesses provide services to the community as well as employment and pay taxes into the treasury, without which there would be no public services. We all live on the profits which businesses make and, at a time when small businesses are under siege, it would be my primary objective to ensure they have a proper voice in East Lothian. Governments do not create jobs – business do!

Jeremy Findlay (Conservative)

East Lothian Courier:

REPRESENTING my community for the last 12 years, first on the community council and then for the past five years as a councillor, has been a privilege and an honour. It has also given me a deep understanding of the issues that face the ward and East Lothian as a whole. I believe that education of young people is paramount, but that standards have slipped under the SNP Government and the Labour administration in Haddington. I will continue to push for increased funding for schools, and local decision-making on how it is spent. The expansion of the local population has not been matched by an increase in infrastructure spending. With the next Local Development Plan coming in the next two years, I will use my experience on the planning committee to push for an 'infrastructure first' policy. Locally, the Edington, the reinstatement of the X5 and supporting the individual needs of the community will continue to be my priorities.

Judy Lockhart-Hunter (Conservative)

East Lothian Courier:

I AM INCREDIBLY passionate about my local area and am determined to help improve its key services. When I helped lead the North Berwick resilience response to Covid, I was inspired by how much the community pulled together and now want to harness that positivity to push for positive change. I will work to ensure that the future of North Berwick Coastal is on its terms. I believe an 'infrastructure first' policy is a necessity across the ward. Vital services including healthcare, roads and educational facilities are all stretched. Since the day it closed, I have helped to lead the campaign to save the Edington Cottage Hospital and, if elected as a councillor, I will fight even harder from the inside. It would be an honour to be elected by fellow North Berwick Coastal residents as councillor and I would continue to work hard all year round for the benefit of our community.

Carol McFarlane (Labour)

East Lothian Courier:

MY ELECTION commitment is to be a strong voice for the North Berwick Coastal ward. Having lived in North Berwick for over 30 years, I care passionately about our area. This is my motivation as a current member of North Berwick Community Council. As a former primary school teacher who taught in schools across the county, I will apply my extensive teaching career experience to the job of being a councillor, helping our young people reach their full potential. Affordable housing and care in the community will be further priorities and I will build on the legacy of my Labour colleague Jim Goodfellow, who successfully secured much-needed social housing for this ward. I am also committed to ensuring council home support services match the needs of our older residents and will campaign relentlessly for the Edington Hospital to be re-opened, something which is within the gift of the Scottish Government.

Stuart Smith (Liberal Democrats)

East Lothian Courier:

I HAVE lived in North Berwick for over 30 years. I am currently retired and I have an honours degree from the Open University. I joined the Scottish Liberal Democrats in late 1991 and previously stood as a local government candidate in East Lothian on several occasions during the 1990s. I served one term as a community councillor in North Berwick from 1999 to 2003 and have continued to be involved in various community activities in the years since then. I have come to believe that our economic future is best served by achieving a just transition to a fair, renewable, green, sustainable, circular economy, putting people and the planet ahead of greed and profits. It is also my firm belief that all elections at any level should be conducted under a fair, transparent proportional representation system.