The balance of political power in Glenrothes has been thrown into doubt following the shock resignation of an SNP councillor.
Bill Brown, member for Glenrothes West and Kinglassie, has said he will remain an independent representative for the ward after withdrawing his membership from the party on Monday.
Though keeping his reasons private, Mr Brown says he still believes in the national party and will continue to support what he calls “progressive politics”.
However, his decision means that the SNP no longer holds a majority on the Glenrothes area committee, the body which controls affairs in the town, just months after seizing it from Labour.
In a statement to The Courier, Mr Brown said: “This was a very difficult decision and one that I have been considering for some months.
“I decided to wait until after the general election, so that there would be no distraction from that campaign.
“When I was selected as a candidate my primary reason for standing was to serve the people and to try to make things better.”
Mr Brown had been proposed as a new area committee chairman by members of the Labour Party when the SNP took control of the group in March.
He declined the opportunity at the time, siding with his then party colleagues in backing Fiona Grant to the position.
“I don’t want to go into my reasons for leaving the SNP,” he said. “However, my focus will be to serve the community to the best of my abilities as it always has been.
“I will make decisions based on what I feel is best for everyone in my ward and other parts of Fife.
“I will do all I can to scrutinise the work of the council and to encourage officers in their work.
“I will also continue to support businesses in Glenrothes in every way I can.”
Meanwhile, the SNP’s new leader in Fife, Brian Goodall, said that Mr Brown’s departure from the group would be a blow.
“I’m not long in this position and so I’ve not had the chance to talk over any issues with him.
“Without further information there’s not much more that can be done.”