Monday, 21 March 2011

Out smarted

AN American born economist will stand for Labour in Paisley this May.

Evan Williams, 45, beat favourite Ian Smart on the final distribution of votes today, replacing Wendy Alexander as the party's candidate for Holyrood.

Smart, a former President of the Law Society of Scotland, had led the eliminating ballot from the start.

After the bottom three candidates were knocked out, it is understood Smart had 34 votes, Williams 32 and solicitor Mike Dailly had 30.

Dailly's second preference votes then split overwhelmingly for Williams, to give him 50 to Smart's 42.

Given Smart's tendency to go off-message, eg support the release of Al Megrahi, criticise Labour's own policy on knife crime, the outcome will be a relief to many in the party hierarchy.

Here's the Labour press release:
Labour Party members in Paisley today selected Evan Williams to be their candidate for the Paisley seat in May's Scottish Parliament elections.

Mr Williams, 45, is an environmental economist specialising in renewable energy. He currently works for a major technology company and was formerly Head of Economics and Sustainable Development at SEPA for five years.

Mr Evans was born in Chicago to Welsh and American parents, and moved to live in Scotland aged 4. He has lived in Paisley since 1995 with his family.

In 2008, he was appointed by former US Vice President Al Gore to be the UK Director of The Climate Project, in which capacity Mr Williams supports house-hold name influencers to campaign on climate change. He is a graduate of Glasgow Caledonian and Strathclyde universities and is currently Chair of the Scottish Sustainable Development Forum.

Most recently, Mr Williams served as the election agent for last week's Paisley council by-election which saw Labour's vote increase by 17 points.

Labour candidate Evan Williams said:

"I am privileged to be selected to fight this seat, and will fight hard for every vote.

"Now the Tories are back, Scotland needs a government focused on what really matters - jobs, public services, crime.

"If elected I will do everything I can to speak up for the place I am proud to call my home."

Stuart Clark, Labour candidate for Renfrewshire North and West, said:

"While Wendy has achieved a lot in Scottish politics at a national level, she will be remembered in Paisley and Renfrew as a strong campaigner who always worked hard for her constituents.

"With Evan on board, Labour now has a new team for Renfrewshire and we will continue to give the people of this area a strong voice in the Scottish Parliament if they back us to be their MSPs in May."

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