SNP councillors in East Dunbartonshire say they’ve been forced out as the administration of the local authority after an informal coalition between Tories and Lib Dems kept kiboshing decisions and forced “draconian” new conditions on staff.

Gordan Low, the leader of the SNP group said the party had not taken the decision lightly, but when opposition councillors voted on Thursday to “impose draconian cuts on our employees terms and conditions” they had no choice but to stand down.

The SNP have seven of the authority’s 22 councillors, and have been running a minority administration.

But both the Tories and the Lib Dems have six councillors a piece, making it relatively easy to block the SNP.

Taking to Facebook, Low explained to constituents why the group had taken the action they had.

“Unfortunately the Lib Dems and Tories once again voted together to push on with their own agenda, an agenda that is fundamentally at odds with our values and those we were elected to represent, leaving us with no option but to resign with immediate effect as the administration of East Dunbartonshire council.

“This was a decision we did not take lightly but it is completely untenable for an administration to be faced with a combined opposition prepared to exercise power without responsibility.”

In November the Lib Dem and Tory councillors defeated the SNP administration and Labour ‘s two councillors, to pass a motion changing the terms of the council’s voluntary severance arrangements.

They introduced measures that would force council bosses to sack any staff who do not agree to the changes in terms.

Last Thursday’s vote was an attempt to overturn that decision.

The Tories and the Lib Dems say the SNP are “scaredynats” running away from imposing the cuts needed for the council budget to balance next year.

LibDem leader Vaughan Moody accused the SNP of “political cowardice”.

He said: “In 40 years, I have never seen an administration simply quit rather than be voted out of office.

“They have just walked out when the going was about to get tough, with their Holyrood masters in the Scottish Government yet again having given East Dunbartonshire a Scrooge-like budget settlement which could lead to cuts of up to £20million.

“The SNP’s grandstanding on the issue of redundancy packages is simply political posturing.

“East Dunbartonshire currently offers the best packages in Scotland but that is unsustainable and the plans voted through by a majority of the council simply brings it down to around the average.”

Tory group leader Andrew Polson said he is prepared to put himself forward as new council leader at the special meeting to form a new administration on January 11.

Polson said: “With four days to go to Christmas, the SNP left East Dunbartonshire residents in absolute chaos by running away.

“We believe they have stood down because they are incapable of taking the necessary decisions, especially with the budget coming up. We will be stepping up to the plate”.