Scotland politics

Sturgeon's mother steps down as Provost on North Ayrshire Council

Joan Sturgeon
Image caption Joan Sturgeon has resigned as Provost of North Ayrshire Council

The SNP group on North Ayrshire Council - which includes Nicola Sturgeon's mother - has given up control of the authority after a by-election defeat.

Labour became the largest party on the council last week after taking a seat from the SNP. The losing SNP candidate was Ms Sturgeon's father, Robin.

The first minister's mother, Joan, has now stood down as Provost after the SNP resigned from the administration.

The decision paves the way for Labour to try and form an administration.

Following the by-election last week, Louise McPhater became Labour's 12th councillor to the SNP's 11.

'Greatest honours'

Provost Joan Sturgeon said: "With the change in representation on the council it is clear to me that I should allow a complete reset of the council administration, including resigning my own position.

"While the post of Provost is non-political it is elected at the start of every council term and it seems clear to me that I should allow that election to take place in tandem with the democratic election of the new administration.

"It has been one of the greatest honours of my life to serve the people of North Ayrshire and I thank them for giving me the opportunity to do so."

A spokeswoman for North Ayrshire Council said: "We will hold a special council meeting on Tuesday 30 August at 2pm.

"The purpose of the meeting will be to consider the resignation of the current administration and to make arrangements for a new council to be formed.

"The meeting has been called in response to a request from eight members of the council."

One senior Labour councillor, who said he was unaware of the SNP group decision until it was reported and confessed surprise, said: "Labour will now engage in discussions. The SNP did not need to take this decision now."

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