AN INVERCLYDE SNP councillor who was found guilty of flouting the ethical code for elected members has resigned from the party.

Innes Nelson - the council's longest serving nationalist - called time on his association with the SNP after being removed as convener of the local authority's Audit Committee.

Councillor Nelson - who intervened in a planning application for a major development near his home without declaring an interest - was hit with a one-month suspension from all council business after a Standards Commission hearing on April 10.

The panel ruled that he had breached the Councillors' Code of Conduct when he voted on a £350m proposal by billionaire businessmen Sandy and James Easdale to transform the former IBM site at Spango Valley.

SNP members put forward Councillor Chris Curley to replace Councillor Nelson as convenor of the Audit Committee at a meeting last Thursday.

But Labour and Tory councillors instead backed a proposal to install Conservative David Wilson, who was previously the vice-convenor of the key committee, as its new head. 

Following his removal, Councillor Nelson said: "Further to the actions of my fellow SNP councillors at last Thursday’s Inverclyde Council meeting to remove me from the chair of audit I have tendered my resignation to the Scottish National Party HQ in Edinburgh. 

“I would like to thank council leader Stephen McCabe, Councillor David Wilson and employees of Inverclyde Council who have who have supported me during my illness with Lyme Disease.

“I was the longest serving SNP councillor on Inverclyde Council having been in office for 15 years since a by-election held in 2009 after the death of Councillor Kenny Ferguson.

“I will now sit as an independent councillor on Inverclyde Council.”

Councillor Nelson’s resignation means that Inverclyde Council is now made up of nine Labour councillors, seven SNP, four independent and two Conservative members.

His suspension relates to an application for the development of 450 houses made by billionaire businessmen Sandy and James Easdale, which was heard by the council’s planning board in 2022.

Councillor Nelson – who resides at the nearby Chrisswell Farm - backed a recommendation to impose a 270-home cap on the number of properties which could be built on the site.

During this process, Councillor Nelson made no declaration of interest regarding his property adjacent to the former IBM site and as a result was sanctioned by the Standards Commission following the hearing earlier this month.

He received the one-month suspension on account of his 'unblemished record'.

The Easdales have demanded Councillor Nelson's resignation from the council.

The McGill's Buses tycoons said last month that they were considering whether to pursue the councillor on a personal basis for the costs they had incurred as a result of the delay to their Spango Valley development.