LABOUR is engulfed in fresh turmoil as a group of councillors prepare to quit the party just hours after the suspension of its entire team in Aberdeen.

Up to six South Lanarkshire councillors have already walked or are on the cusp of leaving Labour as political chaos mounts amid the fallout from the local elections.

All nine members of Aberdeen's Labour group were suspended on the day Scottish party leader Kezia Dugdale made a major speech on the party's General Election campaign and will face disciplinary action after defying national orders not to enter a coalition with the Tories.

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The group were given a deadline of 5pm to leave the coalition but refused, leading to the immediate removal of their status as Labour councillors.

Margaret Cooper has already quit South Lanarkshire Labour and two others, Andy Carmichael and Joe Lowe, have indicated to The Herald they too are on the verge of leaving.

It is understood that two or three others from the ranks of the former Labour administration on the council will follow suit. Sheena Wardhaugh, the SNP's defacto leader during the previous council term, and her husband Jim, are also expected to join the newly-formed independents group.

The East Kilbride SNP veterans are understood to have been angered by their exclusion from senior positions within the council's Nationalist grouping.

The Herald also understands a central reason for the defections is the refusal of many in the local Labour group or its Scottish Executive Council to entertain a deal with the Tories which would allow them to cling to power.

The SNP is expected to become the minority administration today. One senior source said: "The place is a mess."

The SEC has a veto over coalition agreements and will only approve those with an anti-austerity agenda. Earlier in the week Perth and Kinross's sole Labour councillor quickly quit the Tory-led coalition after being announced as a member.

The blow will heap new pressure on Ms Dugdale coming on top of what one party source described as "anarchy in Aberdeen" and given Labour's pitch in a number of knife-edge Westminster contests that it will not do deals with the SNP or the Tories.

Speculation is growing Labour will be returned today as the minority administration in North Lanarkshire with support from Tories but no deal, either formal or loose, is expected to be on the agenda.

The Aberdeen suspensions also overshadowed the alliance struck in Fife, one of the country's biggest councils, which will see an SNP and Labour coalition at the helm. North Ayrshire also confirmed it would be headed by a minority Labour administration.

One Labour source said: "Kez's day should've been about the manifesto and Joe Cullinane forming the administration in the Sturgeon's Ayrshire backyard. Instead it's anarchy in Aberdeen. With the election around the corner its not a great look but you wonder what real harm has been done.

"Aberdeen is full of dinosaurs. They've got to keep their jobs here. That was a concern for them.

"We weren't going to win there. It'd be different if it was somewhere we might win. And in the long run putting the foot down might not be such a bad thing. I don't think it'll mean Kez will be pushed out the door but it might be whether she has the stomach for it."

The SNP had been left as the largest party on Aberdeen City Council after the local government elections earlier this month, with 19 councillors returned by Nicola Sturgeon's party.

However, Labour councillors came together with 11 Tory councillors and the three members of the Independent Alliance Group to form an administration and lock the SNP out of power.

Ms Dugdale said: "Labour values must always run through any deals in local government.

"Labour cannot do any deal with another party if it would result in further austerity being imposed on local communities.

"Tory austerity risks hurting so many families in Aberdeen and the Labour Party simply will not stand for that."

SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "What a total shambles. Suspension doesn't change fact that these councillors have used Labour votes to give Aberdeen a Tory council."

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: "Kezia Dugdale has shown her true colours. As soon as the SNP finally comes under pressure, she can't wait to help them out by propping them up in local government."