The bitter in-fighting over the defection of Dundee's Labour Lord Provost, handing the SNP control of the city, erupted yesterday with his claim that he had been offered an OBE to step down.

Labour have vehemently denied the claim that Lord Provost John Letford was offered the honour to stand down during a time when the party was desperately trying to avoid the SNP gaining control of the city.

The deputy Lord Provost, Ian Borthwick, another councillor who left the Labour fold, was to have taken over as Lord Provost, keeping the ruling anti-Nationalist coalition intact, with Mr Letford stepping down in return for being put up for an OBE.

But he refused and stayed on as Lord Provost. Now he has quit Labour to sit as an independent, saying he will vote in favour of the 14-strong SNP group forming an administration on the 29-seat council next week.

When Mr Letford announced his intention this week he hinted that if former Labour colleagues attacked him he would release further allegations against them. These came yesterday with his claim that they tried to bribe him with promises of an honour if he stepped down.

Revealing the "very major reasons" why he resigned, he said. "The overriding incident, which I found disgusting and unforgivably embarrassing, was that I was approached by the group asking if I would give up two years of my term of office to keep Mr Borthwick on board, who would subsequently get me an OBE. I am disappointed to say that Mr Borthwick made the same request to me later.

"I turned both requests down, of course, expressing my disgust to both of them and reporting the incidents to the relevant officers of the council."

Both Labour group leader Kevin Keenan and depute Lord Provost Borthwick have vehemently denied the claim, although councillor Keenan has been arguing this week that Mr Letford should be sacked as Lord Provost to make way for Mr Borthwick.

Mr Keenan said he had no "position or influence" to deliver an OBE, while Mr Borthwick described the row as "a very sad turn of events" adding: "What on earth does this do to the image of the city?"