THE SNP in North Ayrshire this week denied offering to work with the Tories in a move to gain power of North Ayrshire Council.

It comes just a week after Tory group Leader, Cllr Tom Marshall, said publicly for the first time that the SNP had approached him to ‘seek some understanding’ as a way of taking control on the council.

But the Tories rejected the move and some of their councillors voted alongside Labour to give them power.

Last May, with Labour and the SNP tied for seats on 11 each, the Labour Group announced they would hold no coalition talks and would instead seek to run the council as a minority administration.

Their group have now accused the SNP of “rank hypocrisy” after saying the SNP claimed they worked with the Tories to gain control.

Labour Councillor Robert Foster said: “For the first time we have public confirmation that the SNP and Tories held talks over the running of the council.

“The SNP group have spun like hell that they would never work with the Tories yet they sought, and held, secret talks to “seek some understanding” with the Tories.

“The SNP’s rank hypocrisy has now been exposed. It is now public knowledge that the SNP group in North Ayrshire were so desperate for power that they looked to replicate the SNP-Tory alliance that ran neighbouring East Ayrshire Council for a decade.

“In contrast, North Ayrshire Labour have said no thanks to a deal with both the SNP and Tories, two parties who are imposing cuts on the council. Cuts to council budgets mean cuts to our communities and we will not sign up to supporting that."

Cllr Foster added: “Unlike the SNP Government of 2007-2011, our Labour administration have not relied on Tory support to pass our policies, with an analysis of our first year showing we have voted with the SNP twice as many times when votes have been required at full council.” But the SNP are calling it “nonsense”.

Cllr Marie Burns, SNP Group Leader, said: “Unlike the Labour Party, the SNP doesn’t do coalitions with the Tories. We’ll always stand up to Tory cuts.

“When we won most votes at the council elections last year we offered an olive branch to Labour to jointly run the council with 11 councillors each. Labour refused saying their party would not allow coalitions with the SNP. This was clearly not true as several SNP/ Labour coalitions were approved by Labour’s Scottish Executive Committee.

“Both Labour and SNP were then in a position to put forward minority administrations. We just asked Tories to find out if they would abstain or vote with Labour as they were doing elsewhere. They told us they would be abstaining but of course this was a lie and they subsequently voted to put Labour in power.

“If anyone works closely with the Tories it’s Joe Cullinane - perhaps that is why he kept his mouth shut when it came to publicly condemning the behaviour of their racist and misogynistic councillors over the past few we eks, displaying a complete lack of leadership.”

“Cllr Cullinane knows that we did not make any deal with the Tories. Last month I again offered Cllr Cullinane the option of a coalition to work together against the Tories. An offer he again rejected.”