ANY Scottish Labour councillors who strike power-sharing deals in defiance of their leadership will face expulsion, the party has confirmed.

The warning came after Labour suspended its nine councillors in Aberdeen after they went into coalition with the Tories on Wednesday, ingoring a ruling from party HQ.

On a day of town hall deal-making across Scotland, Labour has also said horse-trading between political groups could run beyond the June 8 General Election leaving some councils in limbo for over a month.

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Asked if coalition talks could last until the general election, a spokesman for Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Of course they could, or even longer.”

Asked if the suspended Aberdeen councillors could ultimately be expelled, he said: “The process is quite simple. They’ve been suspended pending an investigation. Anyone suspended from the party for any reason, you know, it can lead to expulsion. Of course it can.

“But I’m not predicting how long it will take or [what] can happen eventually.”

In South Lanarkshire, where Labour's woes are set to continue with a wave of party departures, the SNP has taken the reins of power for the first time.

Despite two of its members leaving for the independents' benches, the Nationalists won enough votes to form a minority administration while Labour did not out itself forward from an authority where it has been in charge since 1997.

The Herald revealed yesterday that as many as six councillors were on the cusp of quitting Labour, with the departure of stalwart leader Eddie McAvoy opening up personality and political divisions within the group, including entering into a coalition with the authority's resurgent Tory group.

One source said: "The Labour group looked hopelessly split. Incredibly so. I don’t think more than four of them sat together. There were pockets of empty seats between each little band of them and they hardly looked at one another through the entire thing.

"Afterwards they were also heard arguing between themselves and one tried to slag off the Conservatives for ‘getting into bed with the Nats’ despite the fact they put up a rival administration."

Across the M74 in North Lanarkshire Jim Logue was returned as the leader of a minority Labour administration, despite finishing the election one seat less than the SNP, which finished as the biggest party.

But Mr Logue won the support of the council's new 10-strong Tory contingent. One senior source said: "There's no deal here though, not even a confidence and supply arrangement. And they'll get no positions other than the odd one which usually goes to opposition parties."

In Edinburgh, the SNP's Frank Ross has been appointed Lord Provost, a major indication the party will part of a new administration but as yet no leadership has been installed

In West Lothian, which was also barred from any coalition deal with the Tories, Labour pulled back from any deal despite supporting the appointment of a Conservative provost.

Lawrence Fitzpatrick, Labour group leader, said in a statement he would now look to form a minority administration.

In Fife, the SNP and Labour struck what has been billed as a "power-sharing agreement" to run the country's third biggest council.

At the authority's first meeting of Fife Council since the local elections a fortnight ago, David Alexander of the SNP and Labour's David Ross were nominated to equally share the leadership of the authority.

In a statement, the council said they had been put forward in a “spirit of collaboration and co-operation to provide the best service possible for the people of Fife".

In its first post-election meeting Renfrewshire Council, which confirmed an SNP minority administration, voted to reapply for membership of Cosla, following Glasgow's lead a week ago and leaving only Aberdeen and South Lanarkshire as the surviving members of the Scottish Local Government Partnership.

South Ayrshire also returned its first ever SNP/Labour coalition. Nine SNP councillors, five Labour and two Independents came together to form the administration, while the remaining 12 elected members, all Conservative, will form the opposition.

SNP group boss Douglas Campbell, who became council leader, said: "We know there are many challenges ahead, not least in managing the financial uncertainty facing all councils, but we will tackle these head-on in a positive, productive and constructive way, and in partnership with our communities, to ensure we deliver on the promises we have made to the people we serve.”