EDINBURGH Labour are at war over comments made by the council leader appearing to back further commercialisation of the city’s internationally renowned Hogmanay celebrations.

Cammy Day, the leader of the capital’s Labour group, said in an interview with The Scotsman that he would like to see more corporate sponsors back events which he claimed could help see the axed torchlit procession return to Edinburgh next year.

But one of his Labour colleagues hit out at the proposal, saying: “Corporate sponsors are not the answer”.

Day told the paper that bringing in more private cash could help the local authority support the annual Loony Dook, which sees hardy revellers dunk themselves in the cold waters of the Forth on New Year’s Day.

The event went ahead without the backing of the local authority this year albeit at a much-reduced scale, The Scotsman reported.

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Day said: "With the challenges around this year’s event and the changeover (since the new contract was awarded) there has not been the time to get the level of sponsorship we have had in the past.

“There are a number of things, like the torchlight procession and the Loony Dook, that we would want to bring back next year. There is a demand for them and there is a commitment to try to make them happen.

“I think the festival will only get bigger and better in future, with events in different locations.

"I’m sure bigger events like the torchlight procession will attract sponsors to help make them happen.”

Katrina Faccenda, a councillor for Leith readmitted to the party last year after she was suspended for failing to side with the Tories to put the party into power, tweeted her outrage at the suggestion.

She said: “For many (especially those on tight budgets and without VIP access to events) this is happening TO us rather than FOR and WITH us.

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“Corporate sponsors are not the answer, bigger is not better and we must adopt a sustainable and responsible approach to tourism.”

Gorgie and Sighthill councillor Ross McKenzie, who remains suspended from the party after a row over plans to ban strip clubs in Edinburgh, suggesting bringing in more corporate sponsors would be a betrayal of a manifesto commitment.

He tweeted an excerpt from the manifesto published last year which read: “End contracts with large scale events organisations for events such as the Christmas Market and Hogmanay and develop smaller scale events throughout the city, in partnership with community groups and local artists and performers.”

The list of pledges also vowed to tighten up rules to prevent public spaces being used for “commercial purposes” without “clear community support”.

This year’s Hogmanay party in Princes Street Gardens was marred by long queues for entry and drinks which organisers conceded in a press statement may have been “uncomfortable and upsetting” for revellers.

Commenting, Day said that “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations this year were "truly spectacular, with a sell-out crowd of residents and visitors bringing in the New Year here in Scotland’s capital".

He added: "It was wonderful to see so many people being able to experience our world-famous ‘Midnight Moment’ once again – whether they be on Princes Street, on vantage points across the city or tuned into to their TV screens at home.

“It comes us a reminder to us all of the immense value and popularity of Winter Festivals. They contribute significantly to our residents’ wellbeing, providing a whole range of inclusive, enjoyable activities for all ages, while also bringing significant benefits to the local economy – and to Scotland as a whole – supporting jobs in tourism, hospitality and leisure throughout the winter months.

“For all that, we’ll continue to take feedback on board and look how we can improve. We ran a major public consultation last year in which our residents told us to prioritise local traders, spread attractions more evenly across the city centre and rely less on our green spaces – all of which we’ve delivered on this year.”