North Ayrshire's MP has called on the Scottish Government to carry out a compulsory purchase of Ardrossan Harbour.

SNP MP Patricia Gibson made the call following Peel Ports’ shocking decision to permanently close the Irish berth at the Harbour, revealed exclusively by Ayrshire Weekly Press on Friday.

Peel Port closed the Irish berth - used for the second Arran ferry - without consulting ferry operator CalMac, North Ayrshire Council or the Scottish Government.

Ms Gibson said: “Only two weeks ago we were told the Irish berth had to close immediately due to ‘safety concerns’ after divers had examined it.

"Eventually it was revealed the berth suffers from ‘corrosion,’ the extent of which has not yet been revealed.

Read more: Ardrossan's Irish Berth closed for good by owners Peel Ports

“Now Peel has suddenly decided to close the berth ‘permanently'.

“The Irish berth has long added a layer of resilience to the Ardrossan to Brodick ferry service, most recently with the MV Alfred sailing from it.

“Its loss can only be detrimental to the communities both of Ardrossan and Arran.

“The permanent closure of the Irish berth can only make it increasingly difficult to support ferry services to Arran in the short term and will undoubtedly have implications for the the redevelopment of Ardrossan Harbour.

“The Tory privatisation of the harbour in 1992 has been good for Peel Ports. It has done nothing for the travelling public.

“Given Peel’s unilateral action, it’s time they were removed from the equation with a compulsory purchase of the harbour.”

Other politicians in the area reacted with shock to the announcement.

Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson said: "It is a damning indictment of Peel Ports management of Ardrossan Harbour that the Irish Berth - their asset - has been neglected into closure.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “Our focus is on ensuring that any impact on the Arran community as a result of this closure are minimised.

"We are in contact with CalMac to build upon the contingency already put in place to allow freight services from Troon, and finalising works at that port as soon as possible to maximise options.

"Officials continue to work with project partners and communities on planning for the introduction of MV Glen Sannox to the Arran route, with services initially operating from Troon.”

West of Scotland Labour MSP Katy Clark responded: "This is another huge hammer blow for Ardrossan.

“Ferry users and the local community have been failed miserably by owner Peel Ports and dithering Scottish Government ministers in the six years since the harbour upgrade project was announced."

And Conservative West of Scotland MSP Jamie Greene said: "This latest revelation is another hammer blow for islanders on Arran as the million pound a month ferry rental now can't even use the very port it was hired to service. Serious questions must be asked of why the SNP let this happen under their watch."