Labour lose city council majority

Glasgow's city chambers.
Glasgow's city chambers.

GLASGOW Labour has been labelled an “embarrassment” after losing control of the city council for the first time in 40 years.

It follows Shaukat Butt’s resignation which means that the party now forms a minority administration, with 39 Labour councillors and 40 in the opposition.

The attack came from SNP southside central candidate Mhari Hunter.

She continued: “Labour has managed to go from being a majority to a minority administration without a single public vote being cast.

“The Labour party in Glasgow is mired in factionalism and allegations of bullying are an embarrassment to the city. It’s time for a new broom in the city chambers and a more grown-up approach to local government in Glasgow”.

Pollokshields councillor David Miekle is “delighted” by the news.

He told The Extra: “It’s just another sign that the Labour party in Glasgow is in turmoil with division, in-fighting and defections.

“It begs the question — how can Matheson lead Glasgow if he cannot even control his party? I believe at the election we’ll finally see, after 30 years of Labour misrule, real change in Glasgow.

However, a spokesman for the Labour party insisted Mr Butt still intends to vote with the administration.

The Govan councillor was suspended by the party in September following an alleged assault on his wife and as a result, cannot stand as a candidate at the current time.

He said: “I want to be a councillor and so that means I have to stand as an independent in the elections and that means I am not allowed to formally stay part of the Labour group.

“But I still want to see a Labour council in Glasgow and will under no circumstances be helping the SNP, who just don’t understand this city”.

A spokesman for the party said: “Mr Butt was suspended from the party last September after being charged with assaulting his wife.

“He remains suspended pending the outcome of the court case which won’t happen until after the formal close of nominations, so is unable to stand as a Labour candidate.

“He is keen to contest the local election, which means he can’t formally stay part of the Labour group, but he is continuing to support and vote for Labour”.

The Labour administration narrowly secured its budget despite an inner party rebellion following a decision to deselect a number of councillors.

As a result, a Labour party which began the year with 48 councillors has lost nine, many of whom have gone on to form a rival party, Glasgow First, while Pollokshields councillor Irfan Rabbani has defected to the SNP.