THE leader of Glasgow City Council will quit within months regardless of the outcome of his bid to become deputy leader of Scottish Labour.

Councillor Gordon Matheson has told colleagues he will stand down at the next Glasgow Labour annual general meeting regardless of whether he beats Alex Rowley and Richard Baker for the role as the party's number two.

The next agm is likely to take place in February.

But he is coming under increasing pressure from sections within his own group to go earlier and provide a timetable for his departure, with the result of the leadership contest to be announced by mid-August.

Sources have claimed Councillor Matheson's credibility would suffer a critical blow leading Labour into the next local elections if defeated, while if successful there are concerns he would be spread too thinly to run both the country's largest authority and resuscitate the party's fortunes north of the border.

Councillor Matheson, who took the reigns five years after one of the most tumultuous periods in the authority's recent history, told a fractious four-hour meeting of the city's ruling Labour administration of his intention yesterday.

His bid to become deputy leader has been met with a backlash in some Labour quarters, due largely to his refusal to rule out, as his rivals have, using the deputy's position to secure top billing on Labour's regional list for next year's Holyrood elections.

No Glasgow MSP backed his bid, with a third of his group also supporting alternative candidates or declaring no preference.

It has been claimed that even allies of Councillor Matheson are said to want change at the top of the council, while his supporters have claimed a "single-figures cabal" is behind efforts to unseat him.

A senior Labour source close to the leader said: "The public are looking closely at the Labour Party in Glasgow just now.

"The actions of a tiny number of people acting in this disreputable manner is exactly why we lose elections.

"Gordon contacted the group on 15th June to advise them he was standing as candidate for deputy leader and he made it clear that he would remain as leader until the Labour group agm in 2016.

"This is precisely the position that he restated at the meeting this week."

Another ally said: "He plans to continue as leader until next agm and will stand down then, whether or not he is elected Scottish deputy leader."

But another said: "The bottom line is Gordon needs to provide a timetable for when he will go, irrespective of the result.

"He needs to allow the group to gel around a new leader in time for the intense battle to retain the city council, the biggest in our history.

"It puts the party in an extremely difficult position to have either a defeated candidate leading us in to 2012 or a successful one trying to get into Holyrood and doing two massive jobs with so much at stake."