LABOUR’S former deputy leader Alex Rowley has been carpeted by Richard Leonard after he unilaterally tried to reach a budget negotiation with the Scottish Government, according to reports.

Rowley, the party’s local government spokesman, wrote to Derek Mackay to suggest Labour would back the budget if the SNP minister was able to find another £340 million for Scotland’s councils.

Labour would “work to support the government if we are able to secure protections against the worst of the cuts to local services”, the Fife MSP said in his letter, obtained by the Times.

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But it seems Leonard forced Rowley to withdraw the offer before Mackay even responded, as the Labour man hadn’t secured permission from his boss.

The paper’s sources said the Fifer was spoken to “quickly and quite uncompromisingly”.

“This is embarrassing,” a Labour source told the Times. “When the SNP are decimating council budgets and rocked by a civil war, we’ve managed to make ourselves look more incompetent than them.”

Mackay’s budget is seemingly on course for defeat when it comes to Holyrood for its first stage tomorrow.

As the SNP don’t have a majority in the Scottish Parliament they need the support of at least two MSPs. But with none of the opposition parties agreeing to support Mackay’s spending plans for the next year, the finance minister could be forced back to the drawing board.