SNP leader Steve stands down
Deputy council leader Councillor Steve Cardownie is to step down from front-line politics. The Forth councillor will stay on as an elected member but has relinquished leadership of the SNP group – and with it his Deputy Council Leader post. Mr Cardownie says he is leaving for personal reasons and to spend more time with his family.
Formerly a trade union official, Steve Cardownie became a Labour councillor on Edinburgh District Council in 1988. Always a colourful and often a controversial figure, Cardownie infuriated many when he ‘jumped ship’ to join the SNP in 2005.
Mr Cardownie was a lonely figure as the sole SNP councillor on the local authority for two years but an upsurge in his new party’s fortunes saw a greatly-increased SNP group share power in successive coalitions – first with the Liberal Democrats in 2007 and then with Labour in 2012. He has served in his current role since 2007 and is widely recognised as the city’s ‘Festival Czar’.
With over 25 years of political experience under his belt the SNP will find Steve Cardownie’s skills as a negotiator and fixer hard to replace. The new group leader is Sandy Howat, but he’ll find the Jambo from Leith a hard act to follow.
Cllr Howat said: ““Steve will still have a large role to play in the group. He has been a very successful politician on many and all levels, and he goes with a great deal of thanks. Honestly, I would have liked him to stay for another year – I thought he still had a lot to offer.”
Steve Cardownie said: “It had been my intention for some time to relinquish the position as leader, but I wanted to ensure the coalition got to the other side of the referendum intact. I have successfully negotiated two coalition deals – first with the Liberal Democrats and then with Labour – which has kept the SNP in the administration for eight years now.
“Having got through the referendum, the coalition is still strong and I felt it was time to give someone else the opportunity to develop their style. I have a ten-year-old son and I want to spend a bit more time with him.”