Three prominent SNP councillors in Glasgow to step down at upcoming election

The SNP is losing three high-flying Glasgow female councillors for the May local elections in the city.

Senior city cabinet members Anna Richardson, Jennifer Layden and “outstanding” Baillieston politician Elaine Ballantyne have confirmed they won’t stand again.

The party is keen to increase the number of SNP women fighting for seats in local authorities – so the three politicians walking away is likely to be a frustrating blow.

Glasgow City Council made £275,000 from the properties.Glasgow City Council made £275,000 from the properties.
Glasgow City Council made £275,000 from the properties.

Councillor Layden, convenor for equalities and human rights, is not going to defend her Calton ward seat for “personal reasons.” Bailie Ballantyne intends to focus on “personal commitments”, while high profile Councillor Richardson said it is time for new “work opportunities.”

Councillor Richardson

Net zero cabinet secretary Michael Matheson reacted to Councillor Richardson’s imminent departure by saying he was “very sorry” to hear she is stepping down on social media.

Bowing out of local city politics, the Southside mum-of three, said it was a privilege to represent the community and wished other councillors “good luck” saying elected office can be a “tough game.”

Langside councillor Richardson, the convenor for sustainability and carbon reduction, first elected in 2015, has played a leading role in drafting plans to make the city greener including proposals for 270 kilometres of cycle lanes and ideas to reduce car use.

She said: “It’s been a real privilege to represent my community, and to lead on the council’s sustainability work in this term.

“It now feels like the right time for me to move on and take up new work opportunities elsewhere. While I will miss Glasgow City Council, I am very much looking forward to a new challenge.”

Councillor Layden

Explaining her decision, Councillor Layden said: “I have decided to stand down for the time being for personal reasons. It has been one of the biggest privileges of my life to have served as councillor for the Calton ward and also as lead for community empowerment and equalities in the city.

“I have met so many wonderful talented officers, people, and community groups in the Calton ward and across the city, and thank them all for their incredible hard work for their communities. I will greatly miss my colleagues and friends across the chamber and city, and I am wishing them the best. I will continue to work hard for my constituents and in my convener role until May 4.”

Councillor Ballantyne

Mother-of -two, Councillor Ballantyne said she needs to focus on “personal commitments.”

Bailie Ballantyne, of Garrowhill, elected in 2017, has helped secure the new multi-million Baillieston community hub and funding for the East End’s first public tennis courts at Garrowhill. The 58-year-old also helped source cash for a skate park and assisted the set up of group Brighter Baillieston alongside resident Stevie Love, which supported residents in the pandemic.

Commenting on not running again, Councillor Ballantyne said: “It wasn’t an easy decision and not one I have taken lightly. As a person I give 100 percent or nothing. I would be up answering emails and reading council papers until 2am. I was out most nights.

“I was told I got more done in the last five years than has been done in the last 30. But it is time to step back for the next five years. I could never be a 50 per cent councillor. Although I know some councillors who are happy to be a 50 per cent councillor. I will leave Baillieston in a better place than I found it.”

Groups praised her dedication to the area on social media with Eastendflatpackmeals saying she has done “amazing things” for the community.

Charity Eastend Empowering Stars described her leaving politics as a “massive loss to the community” and said she has been “outstanding.”