NINE Labour councillors suspended for entering a collation with the Tories should be readmitted to the party, a candidate for the deputy leadership has said.

Ian Murray said the Aberdeen city councillors had "never stopped putting Labour values" into place in the local authority.

The group were suspended by then Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale in May 2017 after going into coalition with the Conservatives.

Edinburgh South MP Murray said the issue has "dragged on for far too long", as he pledged he would "seek an immediate resolution" to the situation if he becomes Labour's national deputy leader.

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He said all nine councillors should be "readmitted to the party".

Murray, who was left as Labour's only MP in Scotland following the party's disastrous General Election in December, added: "The local government coalition has adopted the Aberdeen Labour manifesto commitments, including its anti-poverty strategy.

"Despite being one of the lowest funded councils in the country, which has been further decimated by SNP cuts from Holyrood, the coalition has invested heavily in capital infrastructure projects and housing, spends more than the national average on education, and there have been no compulsory redundancies.

"The nine councillors, many of whom have been party members for decades, have never stopped putting Labour values into the governance of the city. It is time we as a party recognised that."

READ MORE: SNP urge Labour to expel Tory coalition councillors in Aberdeen

The councillors also won the backing of Labour MSP Jackie Baillie, who is standing for the post of Scottish Labour deputy leader.

Baillie discussed the issue as she began a campaign tour of Scotland, saying the "best way to reunite" the party locally and to "acknowledge the achievements of Labour councillors in Aberdeen over the last eight years is to end the suspension and restore them to full membership".

She said: "That will be a priority for me if I am elected as deputy leader of Scottish Labour."