Politics of Edinburgh

The City of Edinburgh Council
Ceitie o Edinburgh Cooncil
Comhairle Cathair Dhùn Eideann
Coat of arms of The City of Edinburgh Council Ceitie o Edinburgh Cooncil Comhairle Cathair Dhùn Eideann
Coat of arms
187 Statutory.jpg
Admin HQEdinburgh
 • BodyThe City of Edinburgh Council
 • ControlLab + SNP (council NOC)
 • MPs
 • MSPs
 • Total101.7 sq mi (263.4 km2)
Area rankRanked 23rd
 (mid-2018 est.)
 • Total518,500
 • RankRanked 2nd
 • Density5,100/sq mi (2,000/km2)
ONS codeS12000036

The politics of Edinburgh are expressed in the deliberations and decisions of the City of Edinburgh Council, in elections to the council, the Scottish Parliament and the UK Parliament.

Also, as Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh is host to the Scottish Parliament and the main offices of the Scottish Government.

The City of Edinburgh became a unitary council area in 1996, under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, with the boundaries of the post-1975 City of Edinburgh district of the Lothian region.

As one of the unitary local government areas of Scotland, the City of Edinburgh has a defined structure of governance, generally under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, with The City of Edinburgh Council governing on matters of local administration such as housing, planning, local transport, parks and local economic development and regeneration. For such purposes the City of Edinburgh is divided into 17 wards.

The next tier of government is that of the Scottish Parliament, which legislates on matters of Scottish "national interest", such as healthcare, education, the environment and agriculture, devolved to it by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. For elections to the Scottish Parliament (at the Scottish Parliament Building, in the Holyrood area of Edinburgh), the city area is divided among six Scottish Parliament constituencies, each returning one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), and is within the Lothians electoral region.

The Parliament of the United Kingdom (at the Palace of Westminster) legislates on matters such as taxation, foreign policy, defence, employment and trade. For elections to the House of Commons of this parliament, the city area is divided among five United Kingdom Parliamentary constituencies, with each constituency returning one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.

On 18 September 2014, Edinburgh voted "No" in the Scottish Independence Referendum by 61.1% to 38.9% with an 84.4% turnout rate.[1]

The City of Edinburgh Council

Edinburgh City Chambers, headquarters of the council

The current Lord Provost of Edinburgh is Frank Ross, who replaced Donald Wilson in 2017. In Scotland, the Lord Provost fulfils many similar roles to that of a Mayor in some other countries.

Elections to the Council are held every four/five years electing 63 councillors. The most recent elections took place in May 2017 and the next election will be in May 2022. Prior to May 2017, the Council was controlled by a Labour/Scottish National Party coalition which continues following the 2017 election except that the SNP is now the single-largest party.

The Council is currently the second-largest employer in Edinburgh, with a total of 18,617 employees.[2]

Council political composition


Party Councillors
Conservative 17
SNP 17
Labour 11
Scottish Greens 8
Liberal Democrat 6
Independent 4
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