Moray Greens first to declare their by-election candidate

James MacKessack-Leitch – Green candidate in the Heldon & Laich by-election

THE FIRST CANDIDATE to contest a by-election that will have a massive impact on the balance of power at Moray Council has been declared.

Moray Greens have confirmed that their Convener, James MacKessack-Leitch, will contest the seat vacated by former independent councillor Eric McGillivray.

Mr MacKessack-Leitch, who lives on the Heldon & Laich ward he is contesting, said that he was delighted to have been selected – and believes he provides the ward electorate a real chance to choose a councillor that would be accountable only to them.

“The by-election is likely to be hard fought and will decide the balance of power within Moray Council,” he said last night, adding: “I believe that this is an opportunity to bring positive change and new thinking to the Council Chambers, and I believe the voters will recognise the value of having an individual Green Councillor not tied to any established group.”

Calling for a “different perspective” on the strained Moray Council finances, Mr MacKessack-Leitch insists that it should not be just about cutting budgets and slashing services. He said: “We need more creative and community-led solutions for a sustainable long term plan.

“We also need to help build a sustainable local economy, not by pandering to big developers or throwing public money away on ill-conceived projects and short term solutions, but by engaging with our local businesses and third-sector organisations who could play a much bigger role given the right support.”

Living on the family farm at Alves, Mr MacKessack-Leitch has been a firm supporter for the campaign against the creation of a west approach road in Elgin, insisting that mis-management of those proposals has already been far too high a price for Moray to pay.

A director of a local community trust, he has been involved in a number of local campaigns and was also the first ever candidate put forward to represent the Green party in Moray at a UK Parliamentary election – posting the best result for a Greens candidate from outside the central belt.

Calling on Heldon & Laich voters to grasp the opportunity on who should hold the balance of power at Moray Council, Mr MacKessack-Leitch said: “The people of the ward have the chance to choose who holds the balance of power in the Council and that choice is clear – more of the same, or a new constructive and creative vision with an individual Green Councillor accountable only to the electorate.”

Residents in the Heldon & Laich ward have until September 15 to register to vote in the by-election if they have not already done so.