Liberal Democrat, Conservative and SNP councillors have walked away from their parties to join a new group which has taken control of Argyll and Bute Council.
After weeks of unprecedented confusion and speculation Roddy McCuish has been re-elected as leader of the authority by the narrowest possible margin of 18-17 at a meeting in Lochgilphead today.
Cllr McCuish, then of the SNP group, became council leader after last year’s elections but resigned earlier this year to be replaced by James Robb, who then resigned in May.
Independent councillor Dick Walsh, who last week looked set to regain power, may now remain leader of the opposition, although it was his colleague Duncan MacIntyre who stood unsuccessfully for the leadership today.
Councillors George Freeman, Robert G Macintyre, Maurice Corry, Ellen and Aileen Morton, David Kinniburgh and Gary Mulvaney will all form part of the new ruling group, meaning Helensburgh and Lomond will be strongly represented.
But the move is bound to leave the public confused after several of these councillors stood for election under party political banners.
Update: The council has confirmed Cllr McCuish’s appointment as leader, in a brief statement which made no reference to any political parties or groupings.
Cllr McCuish said: “I am delighted to have been voted in as council leader and very much welcome the support from colleagues from different groups within the council.
“It’s very important that we pull together for the good of the people who live and work in Argyll and Bute, and I look forward to working with my fellow councillors to achieve this.”