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Ex-Kirk minister favourite in Provost race

A 71-year-old former church minister is the front-runner in the race to become Edinburgh’s next Lord Provost, it emerged today.

George Grubb, who once called for the monarchy to be scrapped and criticised the Church of Scotland for being out of touch, is believed to command most support within the city’s 17-strong Lib Dem group.

But he is being challenged by long-serving councillor Marilyne MacLaren, who was first elected 21 years ago.

The race heated up over the weekend amid private concerns among some colleagues over Councillor Grubb’s health and ability to chair the new council, when the casting vote of the Lord Provost will hold the balance of power.

One Lib Dem insider said today: “The feeling is George has the right combination of skills to perform the civic role involved in being Lord Provost, but would also command the respect of people in the council chamber.”

Cllr Grubb sparked controversy in 1998 when he condemned the Church of Scotland for spending £500,000 on a new house for the Moderator in Edinburgh’s West End and said the only growth the Kirk was interested in was in bureaucracy.

He said today: “It’s going to be vital for the Lord Provost to have the respect of all parties. I do believe I have the right skills for the job and hope I will have enough support to win the nomination tomorrow.”

Cllr Grubb, who retired as minister of Craigsbank Parish Church, Corstorphine, in 2001 after 30 years, was born and bred in Edinburgh.

He trained as a Methodist minister in Leeds, before switching to the Church of Scotland.

• Full story at the Edinburgh Evening News.

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