NICOLA STURGEON’S mother faces the threat of being ousted from her position as Provost of North Ayrshire as rivals signal their intent to take control of the council.

Following the failure of the First Minister’s father Robin to become the third member of his family to win elected office in Scotland, Labour councillors in North Ayrshire have met to discuss a potential coup at the authority.

Labour’s victory in a by-election in Irvine last week means it is now the largest party on the council.

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon's dad suffers shock defeat to Labour as SNP trade seats with party in by-elections

Although the SNP may continue as a minority administration, local sources say securing the political scalp of Provost Joan Sturgeon may prove too hard to resist for Labour.

“If Labour wanted to take control they could and could pretty easily,” a source said.

“At least two of the independents often vote with them.

“It might be risk for them if they want to win next May but don’t underestimate the motivating factor of taking out Joan Sturgeon. If Labour do move against the SNP they will be saddled with some pretty major cuts going down the line early in the new year and a difficult financial settlement.

“But unlike the current administration they can point the finger at the SNP at Holyrood and the local SNP administration and allege years of mismanagement. If they don’t move they could be accused of bottling it when they had their chance.”

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon's dad suffers shock defeat to Labour as SNP trade seats with party in by-elections

A Labour source said: “The public have seen the by-election result and the headlines which say we’re the biggest party. The public would expect us as the largest party to explore these options.”

Despite winning the highest number of first preference votes, Robin Sturgeon was defeated by Labour’s Louise McPhater after second preferences were taken into account. It came after the seat was vacated by Ruth Maguire when she was elected as SNP MSP for Cunninghame South in May.

The surprise result makes Labour the largest party in the area, with 12 seats to the SNP’s 11. There are five independents and one Tory.

Mr Sturgeon gained 1,164 first preference votes, to Labour’s 1,029, on a turnout of just under 21 per cent. He blamed his defeat on 639 voters who backed the Tories with their first vote supporting Labour with alternative preferences under the single transferable vote.

Read more: Nicola Sturgeon's dad suffers shock defeat to Labour as SNP trade seats with party in by-elections

Asked whether the Labour group planned to oust Joan Sturgeon, Councillor Peter McNamara, North Ayrshire party leader, said: “We have met but I am not at liberty to go on or off record about our thoughts on this matter. The SNP and independents combined outnumber us but there are ongoing discussions about this.”

If it planned to remove the SNP administration, Labour would have to call a special meeting of the full council, which could take place within two weeks of a written requisition signed by eight councillors. It could also wait until the next scheduled full council meeting in mid-September if it goes ahead with a takeover.

Any coup would take on added significance with the leader of Scotland’s major local government pressure group Cosla a long-standing Labour councillor in the area.

David O’Neill has had several high-profile spats with the SNP Government over the £500million cut to councils earlier this year. Council leader, the SNP’s Willie Gibson, said: “We are having ongoing discussions and are aware of how the independents have voted. Labour are the biggest party but we are considering all our options.”