Scotland politics

Labour becomes biggest party on North Ayrshire Council

Labour has become the biggest party on North Ayrshire Council after taking a seat from the SNP.

Louise McPhater became Labour's 12th councillor to the SNP's 11, although the nationalists are expected to keep control as a minority administration.

The SNP candidate in the Irvine West ward was Robin Sturgeon, father of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Meanwhile, the SNP took a Renfrewshire Council seat from Labour in another by-election.

The North Ayrshire Council by-election was held to fill the seat vacated by Ruth Maguire, who was elected to Holyrood for the SNP in May.

Mr Sturgeon polled the most first-preference votes, but Ms McPhater won out after six rounds in the single transferable vote system. Turnout was 20.9%.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale voiced "huge congratulations" to Ms McPhater, while Ms Sturgeon said she was "very proud" of her father's efforts. Her mother Joan is the council's provost.

The Renfrewshire Council by-election was triggered by the death of a Labour councillor.

Jim Paterson took the seat in the Renfrew South and Gallowhill multi-member ward for the SNP, with Labour beaten into second in first-preference votes. Turnout was 26.2%.

There are elections to all 32 of Scotland's local authorities in 2017.

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