North-east Labour and SNP supporters have launched rival petitions calling for Aberdeen Labour councillors to be permanently expelled from the party.
The nine members of the group were suspended after last year’s council elections for forming an alliance with the Conservatives.
The Scottish Executive Committee have since referred the decision south to the UK wide National Executive Committee (NEC) who are expected to make a choice next week.
And on Monday, senior north-east Labour figures led by Aberdeen University emeritus professor Hugh Pennington, supported by the likes of Dame Anne Begg and Lewis Macdonald, launched a petition calling for their reinstatement.
Now two further petitions have been launched; one by Labour activist Luke Stronach – a history and politics student at Aberdeen University – and the other by SNP member Doug Daniel.
Each calls for the expulsion of the Aberdeen nine.
Mr Stonach’s petition reads: “The power-sharing coalition with the Scottish Tories has been used by Scottish Labour’s critics to damage the party across the country, not just in Aberdeen.
“If we are serious about winning again in Scotland we need to win back those lost to the SNP over many years.
“We cannot allow anyone to say that a vote for Labour means you may get the Tories; we cannot create barriers between ourselves and the voters who may come back to us on the grounds that we appear ready to enter into government at any level with the toxic Tory party.”
Mr Daniel’s petition, meanwhile focusses upon the councillors’ willingness to work with the local Tory group.
It reads: “While Labour council groups in Fife, Edinburgh, Dumfries and Galloway and East Renfrewshire chose to work with the SNP to fight Tory austerity and protect public services, the nine councillors in Aberdeen instead decided “Labour values” meant putting the Tories into power.”
At the time of writing, Mr Pennington’s petition has 267 signatures, Mr Stronach’s 177 and Mr Daniel’s 21.
In a further twist, the suspended nine last night received backing from another major Labour figure, in the form of Tony Blair’s former head of communications Alistair Campbell.
He took to social media to add his voice to those Labour politicians who have called for the councillors to be welcomed back into the fold.
The former journalist tweeted: “Totally with @annebegg and @LewisMacdMSP in supporting the Aberdeen 9 – Labour Councillors threatened with expulsion for forming a coalition which had been ongoing for five years before the @UKLabour ban.”