Argyll and Bute council leader resigns over coalition

James Robb
James Robb
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AN SNP council leader has been forced out of his post after an attempt to strengthen the numbers in his ruling coalition was blocked by the party’s ruling body.

James Robb resigned as leader of Argyll and Bute council yesterday, as the SNP lifted a suspension on its councillors following a failed attempt at a coalition deal on the authority.

The SNP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) suspended the party’s group on the authority for inviting the Liberal Democrat and Conservative groups to join the council’s ruling administration without permission.

However, a group meeting yesterday agreed not to form a coalition with other parties, with Mr Robb announcing his resignation as leader.

The SNP confirmed that the councillors had been readmitted to the party following the decision.

An SNP spokesman said yesterday: “The Argyll and Bute Council SNP group will not be forming a proposed coalition after a unanimous decision of the group this morning.

“Discussions with other groups are on going, and the SNP council group will continue to work for the best deal for all the communities of Argyll and Bute.

“Following today’s group meeting, council leader James Robb indicated he has stepped down.”

Scotland’s education secretary, Michael Russell, who is also the SNP MSP for Argyll and Bute, refused to say whether he had been involved in the coalition deal row.

Mr Russell would only say that the Argyll and Bute councillors should “move into conformity” with the SNP.