DISCONTENT among politicians in the Glasgow Labour Party about Gordon Matheson’s attempt to become Scottish deputy leader was growing last night as it emerged that council colleagues were questioning his position.

His leadership style at Glasgow City Council was said to have come up at a “stormy” meeting of the authority’s Labour group on Wednesday, where it was claimed there was a sense of irritation he had not informed some colleagues about his decision to stand in the contest.

One insider told The National: “Some people were questioning Gordon and his leadership style. They were being very vocal. They were saying he was too ready to accept the recommendations of a small team of senior officials. There seems to be increasing unease about his leadership.”

Another source close to the Labour group confirmed there was a growing divide among members.

But last night a source close to the Matheson camp hit back.

He said: “The public are looking closely at the Labour Party in Glasgow just now. The actions of a tiny number of people acting in this disreputable manner is exactly why we lose elections.”

“Gordon contacted the group on June 15 to advise them he was standing as candidate for deputy leader and he made it clear that he would remain as leader until the Labour Group AGM in 2016. This is precisely the position that he restated at the meeting this week.”

Last week, it emerged that former Labour minister Frank McAveety and fellow councillor Aileen Colleran nominated the Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley for the deputy leader role when the contest got under way last week.

They were the latest figures in the Glasgow party to lend their support to Rowley, a close ally of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who stood down from his frontbench role last month in protest at Jim Murphy continuing as leader following the disastrous General Election result.

Earlier last week Glasgow MSP and former city councillor

Hanzala Malik – who also nominated Rowley – spoke out about Matheson standing for the post, insisting he would be better remaining in the city chamber.

He told The National:“If he was seriously interested in coming to the Scottish Parliament he should have shown that interest [in standing in a constituency] and he clearly hasn’t.

“Perhaps he hasn’t thought it out as clearly as many of us think he should have. I am an old friend and at least he should have the courtesy of speaking to me about it and weighed his options and discussed it.

“I think he is a fine leader and should stay in the council where he is doing good work.”

A second Glasgow MSP Anne McTaggart also nominated Rowley, though she declined to speak to The National. Last night another Labour member said: “What is surprising people is that councillors in Glasgow are supporting Alex Rowley. Clearly it looks like they are not much enamoured with Gordon.”

A spokesman for Matheson said just because a politician had nominated Rowley did not mean he or she felt any unease about Matheson’s bid or about his leadership at the council.

He said:“The process of nomination is about people choosing on the basis of their political position and other things who they think would be best placed to be deputy leader. There may be some members of the group who have absolutely no criticism of Gordon at Glasgow City Council but simply prefer to back another candidate.”

Labour lost 40 of 41 MPs at the General Election in May, leading to Murphy standing down a month later. A contest for the new leadership team got under way last week with former deputy Kezia Dugdale and fellow MSP Ken Macintosh bidding to replace Murphy, and Matheson, Rowley and fellow MSP Richard Baker running for deputy leader.