LABOUR councillors in Dumfries and Galloway have been accused of causing the collapse of the SNP-Independent administration by acting "irresponsibly" during budget negotiations.

The SNP leader of the council - Stephen Thompson - has been forced to step down after failing to gather enough support for the group’s spending plans, while Conservative proposals for a council tax hike of 6% were given the green light.

Labour were originally part of an alliance with the SNP and Independents but left earlier this month due to “clear political and policy differences”. 

The Labour group put forward their own budget but this did not get any votes, nor did members support any other rival plan.

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Labour leader Anas Sarwar had suggested last month a change in leadership was “imminent” after a “temporary” coalition was formed with the SNP.

Sarwar was heavily criticised following the council elections last May after repeatedly pledging not to do deals with any other party in order to get into power before going back on that promise.

The Conservative budget was voted through by 19 votes to 16 with eight abstentions.

"I'd like to thank everybody who has supported me in this role," said Thomson.

"It has always been a privilege and occasionally a pleasure."

Sarwar hinted he had had discussions with the Labour group in an interview with ITV Representing Border last month. 

He said: “The local Labour group knows clearly what our position is and we both agree that we have to be consistent with our approach throughout the election campaign and post it that we would have no formal coalitions with either the SNP or the Tories."

The SNP urged Sarwar last July not to wreck the council agreement that was protecting households from "devastating Tory cuts" after he insisted it was an "interim" arrangement.

Independent councillor Dougie Campbell said the Labour group had been "irresponsible" and slammed "interference" from party headquarters.

He said on Twitter: "@dgcouncil ‘progressive’ alliance of Independents, SNP and Labour groups has collapsed as a consequence of the irresponsible behaviour of the Labour Councillors and Labour HQ interference. Well done @AnasSarwar. Mission accomplished.

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"I asked for and, was given a promise twice by Labour councillors that Scottish Labour HQ wouldn’t interfere in D&G Council governance and today made it very clear that constitutional games were at the heart of their irresponsible actions."

Negotiations will now have to begin to try to form a new administration given no political group has enough seats for overall control.