Ringing in changes at council elections
Half of the members in towns are standing down
There will be a changing of the guard in Rutherglen and Cambuslang politics this year with no less than six sitting councillors standing down.
That means regardless of which party triumphs, at least half the areas councillors will be new after the votes are counted on May 4.
All members standing down are from the ruling Labour Party, including council leader Eddie McAvoy, who represents Rutherglen Central and North.
Depute Provost Pam Clearie and former provost Russell Clearie will step down, as will brothers Denis and Brian McKenna.
Those five have all been on the council since the 1990s. Richard Tullett is also standing down having first won a seat in 2008.
Only Gerard Killen ( Rutherglen South) and Walter Brogan (Cambuslang East) will seek re- election, with Councillor Killen set to stand in Rutherglen Central and North.
Martin Lennon, who has campaigned for Labour in the past, will stand alongside Councillor Killen in Rutherglen Central and North.
The party have yet to select three candidates, but Fernhill campaigner Margaret Cowie will stand in Rutherglen South and Margaret Walker, daughter of David Walker, will stand in Cambuslang West.
Councillor Tullett, who has also stood down as secretary of the local branch, said: “I am sure that all the candidates will be working hard in the run up to the council elections in May and will put across a positive message.”
The SNP will announce all their candidates nationally at the same time.
However, councillors Gordon Clark ( Rutherglen Central and North), Clare McColl (Cambuslang West) and Christine Deanie (Cambuslang East) will all be seeking re-election.
The SNP will be seen as favourites to take control of the council from Labour, but Councillor Clark urged caution with over four months still to go until polling day.
He said: “Local elections have lower turnouts and with the voting system, the arithmetic makes it harder for the SNP.
“Opinion polls suggest we should win, but they said that in 2012. It will not be easy.”
Rutherglen is the only place in South Lanarkshire with Liberal Democrat representation and Councillor Robert Brown has confirmed he will stand again in Rutherglen South.
The rest of the candidates will be decided over the next few weeks.
Councillor Brown said the party were confident after dozens of council gains in the past few months across the UK.
He added: “We are intending to stand 20 candidates across South Lanarkshire for the first time. This is the biggest Lib Dem challenge for a number of years.”
The Conservatives have enjoyed an increase in support across Scotland but have never held a council seat in Rutherglen and Cambuslang since South Lanarkshire came in to being.
Taylor Muir is standing in Rutherglen Central and North having contested the last General and Scottish elections.
New face John MacMillan will stand for the party in Cambuslang East while former West Coats pupil Ann Le Blond is the candidate for Cambuslang West. No candidate has been picked yet for Rutherglen South.
Mr Muir said a vote for his party would not be wasted: “People in every area of Rutherglen and Cambuslang should know that placing a number one beside their local Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate will give them a real chance of getting elected this time.”
The Green Party are also set to stand in all four Rutherglen seats with former SSP secretary David McClemont representing the party in Cambuslang East.
Mr McClemont said: “With South Lanarkshire likely to see a power struggle between Labour and the SNP, Green councillors elected in May could be in positions of influence.”
Standing down Russell Clearie is one of six Labour councillors in Rutherglen and Cambuslang who will not stand in this year’s council elections