Opposition councillors are making a "bold" bid to take over Argyll and Bute Council.

Fifteen SNP, independent and Labour councillors have called for a special meeting for April 4 try to replace the provost and council leader.

Their move comes just weeks after the Tory and LibDem administration introduced a record 10% council tax rise, and just days after the authority's leadership announced it was considering reversing the rise.

A special council meeting has already been pencilled in for April 15 at which it's expected the 10 per cent rise will be officially scrapped.

But the 12-strong SNP group, along with two independents and Helensburgh Labour councillor Fiona Howard have lodged individual letters for a special meeting.

And they have issued an "open invitation to all like-minded councillors" to join them.

The opposition branded the administration "tired" and said they should have "engaged positively with the Scottish Government earlier" but instead opted for "petty politics".

Opposition councillors tabled an alternative budget plan at a full council meeting in February that would have seen council tax frozen - but the ruling administration's budget, with the 10 per cent rise, carried the day by 18 votes to 16.

SNP councillor Jim Lynch, leader of the opposition, said: “In this time of economic instability and a cost-of-living crisis, Argyll and Bute Council requires strong leadership and positive solutions, rather than the uncertainty and callous politicking we are witnessing at present.

"It is clear to us that public trust in the current administration is incredibly low.

Questionable decision making over vital local issues such as Rothesay Pavilion, Luing Primary School,  the Mull Campus, and the ongoing council tax debacle has caused real damage in our communities, which we simply must work hard to repair.

"Too much time has already been wasted, and we need to get on with backing the Scottish Government’s council tax freeze and sending the reduced bills out to households.”

The meeting on April 4 would seek to elect a new provost and council leader, then leave other senior posts unfilled until the next regular council meeting, currently set for April 25.

Independent councillor Dougie Philand, depute leader of the opposition, said: "The time has come for accountability, transparency, and a new way forward at Argyll and Bute Council. The public has quite rightly had enough of the status quo.

"For far too long the ruling group of councillors has been able to play political football with the important decisions that impact the daily lives of our constituents, and this must be stopped.

"We hope that by providing every councillor with an opportunity to add their signature alongside ours to call for a change in leadership, we will finally be able to bring an end to the political chaos we have seen in recent years and ensure that nothing like the council tax shambles can happen again.”

Lomond North independent Mark Irvine, one of the opposition councillors who has signed the call for a special meeting, said: "I hope this call for change will bring about decisive change for the people of Helensburgh and Lomond and across the whole of Argyll & Bute.

"I promised that I would speak out and give the residents of my local ward a real voice and thankfully a large group of like minded colleagues clearly share the same view. We have come together to do our very best for the residents of our communities.

"This formal challenge to the administration is not about politics - it's about people. We need to move away from allowing national politics to dictate outcomes for our local communities.

"A new administration will face many of the same challenges, in difficult times. But with fresh energy and a collegiate and inclusive approach to all the issues we face across the region I believe we can put the people of Argyll & Bute back at the very heart of our decision making process.

"As we have made clear in our statement we are inviting all elected members, regardless of party affiliation or politics, to join us in creating a unified and strong administration for the benefit of our communities and the people that elected us to represent them.

"It's about making the right choices and I hope that on April 4 at the special meeting we can all make the right choice."

And Helensburgh Central Councillor Fiona Howard added: "I am delighted to be one of the Argyll and Bute Councillors who have chosen to stand up and be counted in the battle for democracy in the council chamber.

"The decision to call for a special council meeting to ask for a change of administration was not taken lightly but, in all honesty, enough is enough.

"The council tax debacle and subsequent climb down by the current administration was just the final straw and the elected representatives who are in the chamber to actually represent, have had enough of seeing the people of Argyll and Bute treated so badly.

"I was happy to join those in the opposition who wished to call for a special meeting with the expressed purpose of appointing a new Administration and sincerely hope that all councillors with a conscience will vote with us and make up the numbers needed to win the day."

Council leader Robin Currie said in response to the move: "Our ability to consider a council tax freeze has depended on the very welcome £2.3m severe weather support that the Scottish Government has now confirmed for Argyll and Bute. 

"We secured this funding for Argyll and Bute after months of positive engagement between the council leadership and the Scottish Government. This positive engagement started immediately after the severe weather in October last year and has continued over the course of this year.

"The facts are clear. Without the overall improvement in our circumstances that the severe weather funding brings, the funding offered solely in relation to the freeze was not enough on its own to avoid serious threats to vital services and jobs both now and in future years, where we are facing very significant challenges indeed. 

"Tackling those challenges is always my priority and focus. It is a fact that council leaders must always bear that longer-term picture in mind and face up to difficult decisions, no matter how tempting it may be to make an easier or less effective/responsible choice for short-term gain and popularity."