The group of councillors suspended by Scottish Labour last year will not have their fate decided until next month, it has been reported.
Nine elected representatives on Aberdeen City Council were reprimanded by their party after agreeing to form a coalition with the Conservatives in May 2017, ignoring instructions from then leader Kezia Dugdale that no deals should be made with the Tories following council elections.
Scottish Labour continued the suspension in November, saying the group needed to prove they were anti-austerity when setting the local authority’s budget, but will not review the matter again until July, BBC Scotland reported. It is understood continued suspension is not an option.
The decision by the Aberdeen councillors caused a headache for Kezia Dugdale just as the campaign for last year’s general election got underway.
The coalition between Labour, 11 Tory councillors and three independents meant the SNP - who claimed the largest number of seats on the council - was kept out of power.
The Conservative group leader in the city, Douglas Lumsden, hailed the deal at the time as a “Unionist coalition” and criticised the decision to discipline the Labour councillors involved.
The SNP today called for Richard Leonard to permanently expel the nine councillors from his party.
SNP leader on Aberdeen City Council Stephen Flynn said: “This has been a running sore for Labour – and now it’s become a complete embarrassment. A whole year has passed since these disgraced councillors were suspended for propping up the Tories - and unfathomably Labour have now announced they’ll sit on their hands until July.
“Richard Leonard needs to make a final decision. Will he sack or back councillors who are wedded to austerity and intent on cutting local services and hundreds of jobs? This is a key test of his leadership, and he’s currently failing miserably. He would rather see the Tories in power in Aberdeen than take any decisive action.
“But that alone won’t go nearly far enough. These nine councillors were elected on a false prospectus last May. Labour should add their voices to growing calls for them to stand down - if they’re unfit to serve as Labour councillors, then they’re clearly unfit to serve the people of Aberdeen.”