AN extraordinary war of words has broken out between Alex Salmond and one of Scotland's biggest councils over a by-election visit to a primary school.

The First Minister accused Labour-run Aberdeen council of "kamikaze behaviour" and "inflicting reputational and economic damage on the city" in series of outspoken attacks made public yesterday.

In reponse, council leader Barney Crockett claimed the First Minister "lied" about campaigning at a school and "demeaned the office" of First Minister.

The bust-up - which has pushed the already-fractious relations between the Scottish Government and the country's third biggest city to a new low - follows criticism of Mr Salmond's conduct in the run-up to the Aberdeen Donside by-election in June, won by the SNP.

Following the poll, the council formally complained about the First Minister's visit to closure-threatened Bramble Brae primary school - a key by-election issue -during which the First Minister addressed a group of pupils without the headteacher's knowledge.

In a furious reply to council chief executive Valerie Watts, Mr Salmond said he was invited into the school by a member of the parent council and insisted "the visit was totally private" with "no media".

He also dismissed criticism of announcing cash to commemorate the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster during the hard-fought campaign as "offensive".

In a furious broadside he told Ms Watts: "I know as chief executive that you have to act on the instruction of your ruling group of councillors. However, I would ask you to reflect on this.

"I have been First Minister for over six years. During that time I have dealt with all 32 local authorities, of all political persuasions and none.

"No council behaves in the extreme manner of Aberdeen City Council over a range of issues.

"I would suggest that the majority group are now in danger of bringing the council into total disrepute with the knock-on reputational risks that that has for the great city of Aberdeen."

In a separate letter published yesterday the First Minister also accused a Labour councillor of making an "insane, indeed kamikaze" call to withdraw public support for next year's Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen over the club's male-only membership.

Mr Crockett yesterday accused the First Minister of bullying.

He also highlighted an invitation issued by the SNP press office asking the media to attend a meeting between the First Minister and Bramble Brae parents outside the school gates.

He said: "Alex Salmond says his visit to Bramble Brae was 'totally private'. If that was the case, why did the SNP press office issue a calling notice to the media inviting them to attend?

"Alex Salmond is asking if councillors are taking 'insane' and 'kamikaze' positions.

"The best example of that sort of behaviour is the First Minister writing a letter which lies about his actions in abusing his position during a by-election."

He added: "Given the First Minister has lied about the circumstances of his visit in his capacity as First Minister, I am demanding an apology and that he withdraws his inaccurate statement. With another lie, Alex Salmond has yet again, demeaned the office that he holds."

A spokesman for the First Minister said the press had only been invited to attend outside the school and the invitation to go inside and speak to children was unplanned.

The spokesman added: "The FM has been totally accurate in everything he has said on this matter."

Scottish Conservative North East MSP Alex Johnstone said: "This letter is a thinly-veiled threat and an appalling approach for the First Minister to take."