LABOUR have formed a minority administration on Inverclyde Council with the support of independents despite a surge in the number of SNP elected members.

The party secured nine councillors in this month’s election, one more than the SNP who managed to build significantly on the five members they were left with after two councillors defected to Alba last year.

There are three independents and two Conservatives.

Stephen McCabe has become the leader of the council for an unprecedented fifth time with Natasha McGuire as his deputy.

Independent Drew McKenzie has been named provost in place of the departing Martin Brennan, with Conservative Graeme Brooks as his deputy.

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SNP group leader Elizabeth Robertson said her party supported Labour’s right to form an administration but pushed hard to ensure the council reflected the election result.

She said: “Labour had more councillors than us and we abided by that moral right for them to form an administration.

“What we did want to make sure of was that the council looked like the result. Labour had the most councillors so should have had a chance to form an administration but we felt that there should be an Independent Provost and that was eventually agreed.

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“It was a narrow result as we had eight councillors and Labour had nine and there were very slim margins in a couple of wards. We did get more first preferences but we don’t really look at that when it comes to deciding an administration.

The National: Elizabeth Robertson, leader of Inverclyde's SNP groupElizabeth Robertson, leader of Inverclyde's SNP group

“That’s why we thought it was very important the council looked like the result and I think we’ve very much achieved that.”

The council prides itself on cross-party collaboration and so the SNP are now known the largest non-administration party rather than being typically branded as “the main opposition”.

But Robertson said she hoped the council would go beyond being “well-governed”.

She added: “We have got a real opportunity for a peaceful council that makes a lot of progress but we want to make sure the council moves on from just being a well-governed organisation and becomes an impactful organisation.”

The SNP’s Innes Nelson will head up the council’s Audit Committee, while other key positions on boards have been taken up by Labour, Conservative or Independent members.