THE SNP group who control North Ayrshire Council were asked during a heated debate if they 'detest the Tories'.

Labour councillor Robert Foster posed the question at the recent full council meeting at Cunninghame House in Irvine.

The matter was not answered during the meeting, but council leader Marie Burns issued a response the following day.

She said: “I thank Councillor Foster for his question, which I assume is referring to a previous comment made by the First Minister. When asked if she would prefer a Labour or Tory government in Westminster, she commented that she “detested the Tories and everything they stand for”.

"I’m sure any sensible person would know she was referring to Tory governments and not to individuals or voters. If Councillor Foster is asking me if I share that view, then I think he knows the answer as does everyone else in the council chamber."

Councillor Tom Marshall, who leads the North Ayrshire Conservative Group, said he was pleased to hear the response.

He added: "It is reassuring to know that the council leader doesn’t detest us."