Kezia Dugdale denies renegade councillors are undermining her leadership

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Elsewhere, in councils like Perth & Kinross, the Tories have combined with independents and Liberal Democrats in a unionist alliance to keep the SNP out of power.

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". They're doing better largely at the expense of Labour.

Ms Dugdale refused to confirm reports that Mr Rowley had the casting vote to reject the Aberdeen deal during a visit to Edinburgh's Serenity Cafe.

"We need strong opposition holding a Tory government to account, keeping them in check and standing up for the values we hold dear: values of social justice, tolerance and community".

Scottish Labour can not do a deal with the "pro-austerity" Tories if it lead to more spending cuts being imposed on families in Aberdeen, a spokesperson said. I'm not a red Tory, I'm not any kind of Tory, I'm a socialist.

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

Responding to the exchange, Mr Campbell said: "The Tweet Kezia Dugdale read out at FMQs is - obviously - not homophobic in any way".

Labour claimed that the SNP's approach to the currency was "a shambles" while the Conservatives said Ms Sturgeon's remarks showed that she was "flimsy and insincere" on the most important of questions.

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Ross Thomson, the Tory candidate for Aberdeen South in the General Election, said: "Labour has been plunged into civil war after Kezia Dugdale's reckless decision to suspend all nine councillors in Aberdeen".

Meanwhile, the SNP have not had any difficulty increasing their vote in local by-elections during the last two years; on average the party's share of the vote has been up ten points on 2012 in such contests. Last year, the Treasury had tried to cut Scotland's United Kingdom funding by £7bn, he said, while May's "extreme Brexit" would damage jobs and the economy.

He said: "This is absolutely shameful behaviour from Labour".

Buoyed by opinion polls putting the Scottish Tory vote as high as 30%, Davidson believes the Conservatives could win a swath of Scottish National party seats on 8 June, appealing to floating anti-independence and pro-Brexit voters.

"A vote for any other party is a vote to weaken our Union, to weaken our negotiating hand in Europe and to put our future prosperity and security at risk". "It is the Tories and the SNP that have ruled out even talking to each other...driven entirely by their obsession with the constitution".

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

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

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