A NO-TO-YES councillor who quit the Tories is to stand for Holyrood as an independent candidate.

Ashley Graczyk has been an independent on Edinburgh City Council since 2018, when she left the Conservatives over their welfare policies, Brexit and the constitution.

She has now launched a bid to become an MSP for the Lothian region on a platform of protecting the rights of EU citizens after Brexit and action on “unworkable” rent rules.

If elected, Graczyk – who has released campaign materials in English and Polish – could become a Holyrood trailblazer as the country’s first deaf MSP.

The Sighthill and Gorgie councillor says she’ll advocate for an independent Scotland in the EU and work to replace her city’s “outdated” Lord Provost position with a directly-elected mayor.

She said: “I’m now heading for the biggest job interview of my life as an independent MSP candidate for Lothian region.”

Graczyk has told how she voted No in 2014 because she “thought the status quo was safe – but things have changed massively”, stating: “Between the treatment of the vulnerable people with disabilities and the treatment of Scotland, which didn’t vote for Brexit, I ... will definitely be voting Yes at the next referendum.”

On her Holyrood bid, she says she wants to put citizens above the private sector: “There is clearly a growing problem in Edinburgh with public space being increasingly used for private profit, then there is one section of the city chambers being leased out for short-term let penthouses that will be developed there, for what public benefit?

“Do we want our legacy to be leaving future generations at the mercy of the private sector with no safety net in times of need?

“The more positive alternative is to grab the opportunity with a new Citizen’s Charter to start the process of reversing the creeping privatisation and cultivate more public benefit within our public sector.”