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Council future uncertain as member quits for US

posted 9 Jun 2011, 05:46 by David Rintoul   [ updated 9 Jun 2011, 06:01 ]

The Liberal Democrat-SNP coalition which has ruled Edinburgh for the past four years could lose its hold on the city after a Nationalist councillor today announced he is to quit.

David Beckett, the SNP councillor for the City Centre ward, is moving to the United States to take up a place at Harvard University. He will stand down on June 30 and a by-election to fill his seat is expected to take place in August.

The result in the City Centre ward at the last election in 2007 was so close that almost anyone could win. With the arithmetic on the council finely balanced, an SNP defeat would remove the coalition's narrow advantage. That could technically lead to a change of administration on the council.