EDINBURGH Labour is in a desperate battle for its credibility after a humiliating defeat in the city chambers, the Sunday National has been told.

Group leader Cammy Day is leading an unhappy group of Labour councillors after the party’s budget was dumped by the council at a meeting at the end of February, according to sources within the local authority.

Two sources told this paper there was deep dissatisfaction over Day’s leadership – but that none wished to take stewardship of the party following dramatic scenes in the chamber which saw one of their number quit in the middle of the meeting as parties voted tactically to force Labour into accepting a LibDem budget.

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Gorgie councillor Ross McKenzie, who announced he was leaving Labour mid-speech during the chaotic meeting, took aim at the “British nationalist majority” in the chamber.

He said: “Rather than operating as a council with a 2/3 majority of members who consider themselves somewhere to the left of centre (even accounting for the SNP’s very broad church, where, as we’ve discovered this week, you’re more likely to find a creationist than a socialist), rather than operating on those lines, the council has divided on nationalist lines. It is the British nationalist majority in this chamber that will pass a budget today.

“And if a shared loyalty to King and country doesn’t quite bind them together fully, you can be sure that the lure of special responsibility allowances seals the deal.”

The special responsibility allowance is the extra money given to councillors who take on convenor positions within the council leadership.

Opponents say the LibDem budget contained red lines such as privatising council services and enforcing compulsory redundancies.

In another twist, Day said he would try to reverse these parts of the budget – which he was accused of having not read.

The Sunday National made repeated attempts to contact Day for comment but was told he was unavailable.

Day failed to prepare adequately for the budget, two sources said, with one claiming his party’s budget proposals were a third of the size of a normal submission councillors would consider to determine the council’s finances.

The National:

Meanwhile former SNP council leader Adam McVey alleged that the Labour leader had “spent more time organising an upcoming jolly to Taiwan than he had on the budget”. Day is currently under fire over a taxpayer-funded visit to Taipei planned for late March. He has defended the four-day trip as a chance to “develop a friendship with Taiwan”.

It is understood the SNP are considering whether to hold a vote of no confidence in Day – risking his administration collapsing entirely.

Labour were forced into backing a LibDem budget after Green councillors backed the latter party in the first round of voting to eliminate Day’s proposals.

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It contained “red line” matters such as exploring the privatisation of bin collections and reintroducing compulsory redundancies – an option the Liberals said would save £600,000.

Edinburgh Live reported Day was now seeking to “reverse” these decisions and claimed he had been “ambushed”.

Day is also facing allegations he is only interested in holding onto his role as council leader for the salary – something which roughly trebles his earnings from the £19,571 earned by ordinary councillors.

McVey said: “It’s been a disaster for Labour. Their budget was voted down and a councillor resigned during his budget debate speech as he was so appalled with their close partnership with the Tories.

“Labour claimed no compulsory redundancies and no privatisation of services were their red lines- yet they actively supported a budget which did both.

“The Labour leader then claimed the reason he whipped his group to vote for the LibDem budget was that he hadn’t read it - leaving his credibility in tatters.

“Their group has never been more split, we’re hearing a significant number of them now want the leader to stand down to try and draw a line under what’s been a shambles.

“One Labour councillor has even called on him to step down publicly and more are saying the same in private. One Labour councillor told me Cammy Day had spent more time organising an upcoming jolly to Taiwan than he had on the budget – which appeared pretty obvious.

The National:

“When an administrations budget is voted down, they should really resign. They have, by definition lost the confidence of Council and should show the leadership and integrity required to do the right thing.

“As well as a Labour’s credibility evaporating their integrity has taken a battering too.

“They’ve prioritised their own jobs, with around £200,00 of senior responsibility allowances for their group, over any principles they claimed to have."