Kilwinning councillor Scott Davidson has dramatically quit North Ayrshire Council's cabinet - citing concerns over the authority's controversial proposal to introduce town centre parking charges.

Cllr Davdidson said health concerns had also been a factor in his decision.

The move deals a major blow to the SNP administration after the cabinet last Tuesday voted to defer a decision on the parking charge plans until the full North Ayrshire Council meeting on February 15.

At last week’s meeting, council leader Marie Burns advised that Councillor Davidson had stepped down from his cabinet post.

The parking charge proposals have proved unpopular with the community, and three petitions were presented to the audit and scrutiny committee in November.

Councillor Davidson later said: “I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me following the news that I’ll be standing down from the North Ayrshire cabinet. 

“It’s been a privilege to serve as the cabinet member for place but I’ve been dealing with some health and personal issues lately and haven’t been able to give it the attention it deserves. 

“In addition, I have been responding to concerns from constituents around the introduction of car parking charges in Kilwinning and have found that difficult to balance with my cabinet responsibilities for this issue.

“I am aware that parking charges will be decided at full council and I will now be in a position to listen to the debate and vote as I see fit. 

“In the meantime, I want to thank all of the staff in the place directorate for their help and support over the last few months.”

His cabinet role will be taken on by Ardrossan ward councillor Tony Gurney for the time being.

Councillor Burns said: “I want to thank Councillor Davidson for the work he has put into this portfolio. I’m sorry to see him leave the cabinet but his own health and wellbeing must come first. 

“He is an excellent local councillor and will continue to work tirelessly for the people of Kilwinning."

Meanwhile, Labour has accused the administration of being “devoid” of any leadership.

Councillor Nairn McDonald (Irvine East) said: “When a cabinet is so devoid of political leadership that it punts decisions to full council in fear of being forced to publicly take a stand; when the leader can’t show up to budget engagement sessions and the cabinet members who do barely engage with the people there; and when a cabinet member resigning is announced as a side note at the beginning of a cabinet meeting instead of through official channels, then one must wonder if the SNP are running North Ayrshire or simply managing its decline.

“Their party sits in power in Holyrood and we have to wonder when the SNP administration is going to find its spine and stand up to the cuts being sent our way by their Edinburgh bosses.”

Councillor Burns responded: “As well as being [former] council leader, Joe Cullinane was also the finance portfolio holder so, of course, he was at all budget consultation meetings.

“My cabinet member for finance, Councillor Christina Larsen, was at all budget consultation meetings. She was accompanied either by myself as council leader or Councillor Shaun Macaulay as depute leader.

"Our leadership team was well represented."