SCOTTISH Labour have suspended all nine of their councillors in Aberdeen after the group disobeyed an order to reject a coalition with the Tories.

In a statement, Kezia Dugdale’s spokesman said the unprecedented move means there are “currently no councillors in office in Aberdeen representing the Labour Party”.

Earlier in the week the group had negotiated a deal with the 11 Tories and two independents, which would have allowed them to stop the SNP’s 19 councillors establishing a minority administration to run the city council.

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When the Aberdeen Labour group presented the terms of that deal to the party’s governing body, the Scottish Executive Committee, on Tuesday night, it was rejected as it did not guarantee an end to austerity or compulsory redundancies.

Despite that, Aberdeen’s Labour councillors persisted and agreed the deal with the Tories and the independents yesterday. In return for being part of the administration they were able to take key positions, including leader and Lord Provost, despite being the junior partner.

News of the deal came just minutes before Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale delivered what was billed as a major speech to activists and journalists in Glasgow.

At around the same time as she warned the audience that a vote for the Tories was an “endorsement of the rape clause and hard Brexit”, Aberdeen’s new Lord Provost, Barney Crockett, a former Labour group leader on the council, was posing for photographs wearing his new gold chains of office.

When The National asked Dugdale if she would back her councillors in Aberdeen over the deal, she said they would face disciplinary action.

The terms of the coalition deal proposed were rejected, she said, because the SEC “didn’t believe there was enough evidence in the proposal put forward that there would be no compulsory redundancies and there would be no end to austerity”.

In a later statement, a party spokesman gave the nine councillors an ultimatum: get out of the coalition or face being suspended by the party.

By 5pm, the coalition deal was still intact, with the group choosing the administration over the party.

Scottish Labour then contacted each councillor individually telling them that they had been suspended.

In a statement Dugdale said: “Labour values must always run through any deals in local government. The hundreds of thousands of Scots who vote for us have the absolute right to expect us to defend local services against cuts and properly fund the services that so many people rely on, such as education and care for the elderly.

“Labour cannot do any deal with another party if it would result in further austerity being imposed on local communities. Tory austerity risks hurting so many families in Aberdeen, and the Labour Party simply will not stand for that.”

One of the Labour councillors suspended by Dugdale is Sandra MacDonald, the wife of Labour’s front-bench external affairs spokesman at Holyrood, Lewis MacDonald.

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “What a total shambles. Suspension doesn’t change fact that these councillors have used Labour votes to give Aberdeen a Tory council.”

Sarah Duncan, one of the suspended councillors, told The National the decision wasn’t taken lightly.

“We thought very, very carefully about it and we did it because we think it’s the best thing for Aberdeen,” she said.

“We still regard ourselves as Scottish Labour people, but, unfort- unately, we disagreed with a decision taken by the SEC and we felt we had no option but to do the deal with the Tories because it gives us the best chance to implement anti-austerity policies in Aberdeen.”

Duncan added that she believed Labour HQ could still be won round to the terms of the agreement, saying: “We’ll get a chance to put our case, I hope, and when we do I think the SEC will realise that what we’ve done is not pass on Tory austerity, but rather we’re doing all we can to mitigate SNP austerity and Tory austerity. I’m not a Tory. I’m not a red Tory, I’m not any kind of Tory, I’m a socialist.

“I want to improve and protect public services. I want free, high-quality social care for people. I want free, high-quality education where kids in poor areas don’t have worse results than kids in richer areas.

“We can’t do anything about that in opposition.”

Ruth Davidson said Dugdale’s refusal to work with the Tory councillors in Aberdeen would only help the SNP’s push for independence.

“Kezia Dugdale has shown her true colours,” the Scottish Tory leader said. “As soon as the SNP finally come under pressure, she can’t wait to help them out by propping them up in local government.

“She says she’ll discipline members who even think about working with pro-UK colleagues like the Conser- vatives, despite Labour and Conservatives having formed the Aberdeen city administration for almost all of her time as leader.

“She really is lost. No wonder Scottish Labour is continuing its death spiral.”

Callum McCaig, a former leader of Aberdeen City Council, and the SNP’s General Election candidate in Aberdeen South, said Labour’s deal showed the councillors were more concerned with power than ending austerity. “This is absolutely shameful behaviour from Labour,” McCaig said. “They can no longer call themselves a party that supports public services, given this anti- democratic pact with a right-wing Tory Party obsessed with austerity and cuts.

“People across Aberdeen and the rest of Scotland now know where Labour’s priorities lie – they put jumping into bed with the Tories ahead of any principle.

“The SNP won this local election in Aberdeen decisively, yet we face being locked out of office by a Labour Party that is now committed to cutting public services rather than engaging with our progressive programme to improve people’s lives across Aberdeen.

With 19 councillors, the SNP became the biggest party in the city after the election, but fell short of the numbers needed to form a majority administration.

An attempt to form a coalition with the four LibDem councillors proved fruitless.

The Tories surged from three councillors to 11, and Labour fell 18 down to nine.

New LibDem councillor Jennifer Stewart yesterday resigned the party whip to join the two other members of the independent alliance in the administration.

The local Greens have called for the election to be re-run.