THERE will be no coalition council in North Ayrshire despite the SNP offering to go into partnership with the ruling Labour group for a second time.

One year after Labour formed a minority administration following the North Ayrshire Council elections , the SNP renewed its offer to form a coalition.

SNP Group Leader, Councillor Marie Burns, wrote to Labour leader Councillor Joe Cullinane, stating: “Political uncertainty within the council is not the best way to be dealing with major issues like the Ayrshire Growth Deal, Brexit and continuing Tory austerity.

We also have major budget decisions to face which again would be best resolved through political certainty and coalition.”

After the offer was rejected, Cllr Burns said: “I am deeply disappointed that Joe Cullinane and the Labour Group have once again rejected the offer to work together in coalition.

“These are difficult times and as the Tories seem to be rushing headlong into a hard or no deal Brexit it would be the right time to put aside our differences and work together for the good of ALL of the people of North Ayrshire.

“I think this is playing petty party politics and I firmly believe we could achieve more by being grown up and working together.”

Cllr Cullinane said: “Last year we rejected talks with the SNP and the Tories because both parties are imposing austerity.

“83 per cent of the council’s revenue budget is now directly from the Scottish Government yet every year the SNP Group welcome budgets that leave the council with multi-million pound funding gaps. Since 2010 a whopping £83million has been removed from council budgets.

“The SNP Group again asked for coalition talks and this year we asked them for assurances about how any coalition would respond to a Scottish Government budget that left a huge funding gap.

"The answer was that the council would have to accept that budget but we, as Labour politicians, could publicly comment. That’s not anti-austerity, that’s managing austerity.”

NAC Conservative Leader CllrTomMarshall, said: “It beggars belief that the SNP are so keen to join up with the ruling pro-Unionist Labour Group. What would Nicola say?

“The NAC Elections in May 2017 saw seven Conservative councillors elected. Our group was approached with a request from the SNP leader to seek some understanding with the Conservatives to enable the SNP to run the council. The Conservatives refused since we could not endorse their Independence agenda.

“The next attempt by the SNP to gain power and extra responsibility money was a few months ago when apparently they offered to support Labour in exchange for various chairmanships including, allegedly, the Deputy Provostship.

“Now we have the latest attempt to form a coalition with Labour on the grounds of ‘political uncertainty’ Sounds a bit desperate.”