SCOTTISH Labour’s new leader Richard Leonard has left the door open to readmit Aberdeen councillors to the party after they were suspended for putting the Tories into power.

The party’s ruling body met at the weekend but decided to put back a decision on the rebels’ future until after the council’s budget.

Members of the Labour group on Aberdeen City Council were suspended en masse by former leader Kezia Dugdale after ignoring a party order not to go into administration with the Tories.

The Labour Party’s Scottish Executive Committee has now ruled that the matter will be kept “under review” until the administration sets its budget. Leonard last week suggested that he supports readmitting the suspended councillors, saying: “I don’t like to see a situation where members of the Labour Party are put outside it”.

A leaked account of discussions between the suspended councillors and the General Secretary of the party show the Labour group justified their deal with the Tories in terms of “we don’t want to give them [the SNP] a foothold”.

SNP MP Kirsty Blackman said: “People in Aberdeen were rightly outraged that their votes for Labour were used to put Tory councillors in office. But now, despite these councillors ignoring a direct order from the party, Labour appear to be preparing to let them back into the fold.

“And now we know, in their own words, that these councillors chose to put right-wing Tory councillors in charge of public services simply out of a tribal hatred of the SNP.

“It’s pathetic and completely unbecoming of those elected to public office.”

She added: “If that attitude is welcome in Richard Leonard’s Labour Party then voters will come to their own conclusions.”

The councillors, who ran for the Town House as Labour candidates, were suspended by the party in May when they defied national chiefs to join a ruling coalition with the Conservative group and Independent group.

The leaked papers show the suspended nine believe they are leading their “inexperienced” Conservative administration partners and have them implementing left-wing policies.

It’s also claimed the group was surprised at how easily the Tories agreed to Labour’s policies, while some members of the group said they would pull out of the deal should the Tories stop supporting the party.

Councillors Yvonne Allan, Barney Crockett, Lesley Dunbar, Sarah Duncan, Gordon Graham, Ross Grant, Jenny Laing, Sandra Macdonald and Tauqeer Malik were suspended by the party shortly after the local elections.

According to the report, Cllr Crockett went as far as to state that Aberdeen Labour needed to get back to a place where its current administration partners, the Tories, were his party’s opposition again.

He is said to have put forward the view that “the SNP are in disarray locally and we don’t want to give them a foothold. Ultimately, we need to get the narrative back to Labour v the Tories, and allowing the SNP to control the council would undermine this effort”.

The exiled Labour members have criticised national party officials for not allowing them to see the leaked documents, stating they could not verify the accuracy of their contents.

An Aberdeen Labour group spokesperson said: “The documents in question are not a transcript, they are merely notes taken by a Scottish Labour Party staff member, of private interviews held between Brian Roy, General Secretary of Scottish Labour, and the nine councillors who were suspended in May.

“It is extremely disappointing that these notes have been placed in the public domain when they have not even been shared with the councillors.

“The councillors have not been given the opportunity to verify either the factual accuracy, the interpretation of comments contained in them, or to agree the final version.”

He added: “There was no recording taken of these interviews so these notes do not form a transcript of the discussions, they are notes taken to assist Mr Roy in preparing his report.”

A note from an interview with Lord Provost Barney Crockett states he told Labour’s Scottish General Secretary Brian Roy: “Jenny [Laing] is de-facto leader and the Tories more or less go along with what she says”, and that “so far, the Tories are playing ball and supporting left-wing policies”.