SPARKS flew as North Ayrshire Council leader Marie Burns and Labour rival Joe Cullinane faced off for the first time since the election.

The SNP chief spoke out after her predecessor was critical of the party’s decision not to publish a manifesto or plans for the new administration.

Labour leader Cullinane said at last Wednesday’s full council meeting: “Given that the SNP did not publish a local manifesto for North Ayrshire, can the leader of the council tell us when they will publish a political programme, which the minority administration has to deliver?”

Cllr Burns said: “Councillor Cullinane has been giving me advice on teaching me how to run an administration, he says I should be making more policy announcements and shouldn’t be working with officers as that shows a lack of political leadership and should be publishing a political programme.

"I don’t know how I would get here without him.

“With the greatest respect to Joe, and I mean that, he is not the leader of the council – I am, he needs to take a step back and has to stop trying to teach your granny to suck eggs.”

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The Labour chief retorted: “If you are a minority administration you have to speak to people to get things through.

"In the short-term, it’s okay to ride off the back of existing policies including community wealth building.

“An administration that tries to deliver someone else’s plans is doomed to failure.

“We want to help push the council forward.”

Cllr Burns added: “The (previous) Labour administration was happy to carry on policies promoted by the SNP.

“I have no problem supporting policies pushed by the Labour administration, we shared our main policies with the public.

“When the time’s right we are going to be publishing what we are going to be doing.”