IRVINE’S new MSP Ruth Maguire has officially resigned as a North Ayrshire councillor.

A by-election has now been triggered for the new Cunninghame South politician’s Irvine West council seat.

No date has been set for an election but it will have to take place within the next three months.

Ms Maguire’s departure from the NAC administration, of which she served as cabinet member for finance, now means the SNP Group have lost their majority with the council split between 11 SNP and Labour councillors.

After Margaret Burgess’ retirement, Ms Maguire - who stood down from NAC on May 17 - was elected MSP by 13,416 votes defeating Labour’s Joe Cullinane, Billy McClure from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrat Ruby Kirkwood.

Incredibly, the Irvine West contest will be the SEVENTH election to be held in North Ayrshire in just two years.

Some of Ms Maguire’s newly-elected Holyrood colleagues who were elected as councillors have also chosen to stand down.

Ms Maguire said: “It’s been a real privilege being an elected member of North Ayrshire Council. I have enjoyed being a councillor immensely and will bring all I have learned with me in my new role as MSP for Cunninghame South.”