Chaos after council deal sparks rebellion

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Moves by a Scottish council leader to strengthen the numbers in his ruling coalition appear to have backfired.

It emerged yesterday that the majority of Argyll and Bute councillors are to meet on Thursday in a bid to form a new alliance, aimed at ending council leader James Robb’s reign.

The council’s SNP group will hold crisis talks today, after the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) suspended them for inviting the Liberal Democrat and Conservative groups to join the council’s ruling administration without permission.

The deal, which would strip lucrative posts from some SNP councillors in favour of the new political bedmates, was meant to bolster numbers after two Nationalist councillors resigned.

But within hours of Mr Robb’s announcement that the new Consensus Coalition Administration would boost his team to 25, a stream of councillors from Mr Robb’s SNP group refused to join in the new regime.

Mr Robb, who claims NEC approval is just a “formality”, said: “I was happy to respond in a positive manner to councillors who were willing to take the responsibility of working together.”