BUSINESS has been confirmed for Argyll and Bute Council’s crunch meeting next week – and depending on the outcome, several key political roles on the authority could be left vacant for weeks.

Fifteen opposition councillors, all members of the authority’s Strategic Opposition Partnership (SOP), have signed a requisition calling for the special meeting, which will be held on April 4.

The SOP, consisting of SNP, Labour and some independent councillors, is seeking to gain control from the council’s ruling administration, the Argyll, Lomond and the Islands Group (TALIG).

The latter has Conservative, Liberal Democrat and independent councillors among its membership.

There are only three substantive items on the agenda: the election of a Provost, the election of a leader, and the appointment of policy leads or spokespersons, under ‘political management appointments’.

The current Provost is Maurice Corry (Conservative, Lomond North) while the leader is Robin Currie (Liberal Democrat, Kintyre and the Islands).

The Strategic Opposition Partnership is led by Oban South and the Isles SNP councillor Jim Lynch.

There are no reports accompanying any of the three agenda items. Under the last of them, there is a note stating: “All political management appointments including depute provost and depute leader will become vacant and removal of existing appointees will be with immediate effect. Replacements to be agreed at the full council meeting of April 25, 2024.”

However, it’s understood that the vacating of political management appointments will only happen if the councillors who are currently in opposition win the battles to become Provost and leader.

Another special full council meeting has already been scheduled for Monday, April 15, when councillors will consider whether to freeze council tax – having voted in February to increase it by 10 per cent.

Two other meetings are due to be held before April 25 – the planning, protective services and licensing committee on April 17, and the Argyll and Bute licensing board – not a council committee but consisting of councillors from across the area – on Tuesday, April 23.

In a statement calling for the meeting, the SOP said: “This move comes in the wake of the current administration’s disingenuous, smoke and mirrors U-turn on their reckless and completely unnecessary 10 per cent council tax hike, and follows two years of indecisive, clandestine, and weak leadership.”

Councillor Currie responded: “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.”