The Scottish Liberal Democrats have hailed the appointment of a former homeless charity chief executive as Edinburgh’s new Lord Provost.
Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Robert Aldridge will take up the historic role of the city’s 248th lord provost.
At the first meeting of the new council, councillors unanimously backed Mr Aldridge’s nomination and he was sworn into the role in a short ceremony in the city chambers.
He will serve as Edinburgh’s civil head where he will convene all further meetings of the council and will represent the city as part of a variety of organisations including the Fridge Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Mile Tattoo.
He has served as councillor for the Drum Brae and Gyle ward for 38 years – making him the council’s longest serving member.
Mr Aldridge, former chief executive of a national homeless charity, the Scottish Council for Single Homeless, and former president of the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless, said he is “honoured” to take up the role.
It is also believed he will make history as the city’s first openly gay lord provost.
He said: “I’d like to thank everyone who nominated me to take on this role, I feel really honoured.
“Most of all though, I want to acknowledge the voters who put me here, and all the folk who deliver the leaflets and knock on doors to make it possible. I always feel like we get the glory, but they do the hard work that gets us here.
“I’m looking forward to starting this new role and I promise to serve everyone in the city, no matter who they voted for, to the very best of my abilities.”
Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Alex Cole-Hamilton hailed the appointment.
The Edinburgh Western MSP said: “Over the past 38 years, Robert has been a wonderful servant to the people who have repeatedly put their trust in him.
“Not only has he served tirelessly on the council, including a stint in administration, he he has never lost touch with the local people he is there to serve.
“Speak to the people of Drum Brae and Gyle and it is remarkable how many will tell you they’re on first name terms with him.
“That’s the spirit of localism, along with his tireless work helping to tackle homelessness and protect the environment, makes him someone Liberal Democrats are immensely proud to call our own and someone I am proud to call my friend.
“I’m certain he’ll make an excellent lord provost and celebrate him becoming the first openly gay person to take up the role.”
Mr Aldridge will also take on the position of Lord Lieutenant, the Queen’s representative in Edinburgh, greeting members of the Royal Family and visiting heads of state to the city.
Labour councillor Lezley Marion Cameron was appointed as Depute Lord Provost.