ONE of Scotland's biggest councils has appointed its first new leader in almost 20 years.

Labour members have selected Jim Logue as their new political head at North Lanarkshire Council

The move came after the veteran Jim McCabe stood down as leader.

Mr McCabe, the often outspoken and controversial leader of the Labour-led authority since 1998, announced he would be quitting last month claiming he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The move came amid an increasing internal clamour for a change in leadership as Labour faces a major struggle to hold power in its traditional heartlands.

It was also claimed that Mr McCabe did not relish being the leader to hand-over power of one of the UK's last bastions of old Labour to the SNP in May 2017.

Airdrie councillor Jim Logue was unanimously elected leader of his political group on Monday afternoon and will formally be elected leader of the council on March 8.

Internal rival Jim Smith had put his name forward but did not stand on the day.

Mr Logue said: “It is a great honour to be elected as leader of the Labour group at North Lanarkshire Council.

“As leader of the council I will work hard for all the people of North Lanarkshire. Our achievements over recent years are second to none: in investing hugely in housing, in creating employment though our Youth investment Programme and in the half a billion pounds we have spent on new and redeveloped schools, a programme I oversaw as convener of learning and leisure.

“These are clearly challenging times but we have the talent and creativity to ensure we focus on the most important things to our residents: the prospects of our young people, more jobs, safer and cleaner communities and the highest quality housing.

“I will work with all local and national politicians, council staff and communities themselves to make sure we deliver on these priorities.”

Motherwell councillor Paul Kelly, whose Labour branch The Herald revealed is at the centre of calls for a financial probbe, and Kilsyth councillor Heather McVey were appointed as depute leader and business manager respectively.