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Owen Thompson being sworn in as an MP © BBC

Councillor Owen Thompson Resigns

Midlothian’s new Member of Parliament, Owen Thompson, has resigned from the post of Council Leader and Councillor, prompting a by-election in Loanhead and District.

Owen Thompson (SNP) announced his intentions to resign at the final meeting of Midlothian Council’s Cabinet before Summer recess. Following his election as the county’s new MP on May 8, replacing Labour’s David Hamilton, Mr Thompson will now focus on his parliamentary duties.

In a tweet announcing the move, he said:

I have this afternoon resigned as Leader of Midlothian Council, and with effect from 1st July, as Councillor. It’s been an honour  [Midlothian Council].

Massive congratulations to  [Catherine Johnstone], new leader of – Wishing you all the best in your new role Cath.

Mr Thompson will continue to work as a councillor until July 1, though his resignation as council leader is with immediate effect. SNP Councillor for Midlothian South, Catherine Johnstone, was duly elected the new leader during the meeting. She said:

It’s a huge privilege, an honour and a great responsibility to take on this post. I will do it to the best of my ability for the people of Midlothian.

Chief Executive of the council, Kenneth Lawrie will now choose a date for a by-election in Midlothian West.  The election will likely be held on a Thursday, though the summer recess dictates that the post may not necessarily have to be filled right away.

Owen Thompson was elected at stage 7 of the council elections in May 2012, alongside Andrew Coventry (SNP) and Russell Imrie (Lab). Alex Jones (Lab) narrowly missed out and will likely enter the by-election as incumbent favourite, should he choose to stand. The SNP will select a new member to stand in the ward.

Mr Thompson also announced that his salary as councillor from May 8 will be used to fund projects in his former ward.

Cllr Johnstone was elected as an SNP councillor to serve the Midlothian South ward in 2012. She is currently a member of the cabinet for children’s services and adult social care.

Cllr Johnstone, who has two children and two grandchildren, lives in Newtongrange. Before being elected, she previously worked as a homelessness officer with the council