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Mass Labour resignations before crucial budget vote

Glasgow's ruling Labour group rocked by third resignation just hours before crucial budget vote.

Council crisis: Two councillors have now resigned from Labour Party.

Glasgow's Labour group is in "meltdown" as a group its councillors voted against the party's proposed budget for the city on Thursday.

The party's budget looked in jeopardy as several deselected members were expected to break ranks and vote against the plans, which could have led to a 38-32 win for the opposition.

However, councillors not present at the start of the meeting were brought in during an adjournment, meaning the vote was passed 40-38.

The close vote came as a third Labour councillor confirmed he was quitting the party in the space of 24 hours. Pollok member Tommy Morrison told STV News that "it's the start of the death throes" of the Glasgow City Council administration. 

He said, ahead of the crucial budget meeting: "I'm going to be going into the meeting as a member of the Labour Party but I won't be coming out as one. And eight other people will be the same. From 2pm I will not be a member of the Labour Party."

Earlier, Stephen Dornan, Govan councillor for 17 years, sent a letter to his colleagues on Thursday morning saying he could no longer be part of the Labour group at the council or the Labour Party.

On the back of this and other recent resignations at Labour, eight of the party's Glasgow councillors who have been told they will not be selected as candidates again voted against the budget.

Mr Dornan's decision comes less than 24 hours after Govanhill councillor Anne Marie Millar resigned, saying she felt excluded from Labour’s "inner circle".

He said his decision was made after "interference" from colleagues from London and "cliques" within the Glasgow party who deselected him in September to make space for "followers of particular dynasties".

Councillor Millar also gave her reasons for her resignation. She said: “A letter has been sent to the Labour party this morning.

“It has been prompted by the actions of the central Labour Party in stopping the Govan Labour party from exercising its right in choosing its own candidates for the local election in 2012.

“I believe the decision was made under the dual influence of party officials from London and cliques with in the Labour party in Glasgow who have set out to make space for followers of particular dynasties, but knew that leaving the choice to the local parties would not deliver the required result."

If the Labour membership fell below 40 on Thursday afternoon, the group would be forced to rule the council in a minority administration. The party confirmed that it would suspend all members who voted against the budget.

James Dornan SNP MSP for Cathcart and Langside councillor said: "This is just the tip of the iceberg; the Labour Party is in meltdown in Glasgow.

"Irrespective of whether or not Labour squeeze through their budget in Glasgow City Chambers today the fact that former Labour stalwarts are leaving the party is indicative of just what a sorry state it is in.

"With the council elections less than three short months away the people of Glasgow will have the chance to vote for the SNP and put in place a council that will truly match their aspirations for their city."

The first deselected Labour councillor to leave the Glasgow group was Irfan Rabbani who joined the SNP last month. At the time, he said he felt it was time to see "change" at the city chambers.

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