A LABOUR politician who led a group of "deadwood" rebels in setting up a rival party after has been readmitted.

Tommy Morrison had set up Glasgow First along with around a dozen colleagues after they were dumped as candidates by Labour as part of the party's cull ahead of the 2012 local elections.

The party fielded 20 candidates against Labour in the city, with one elected, and was instrumental in an attempted coup against council leader Gordon Matheson at a crunch budget meeting that year.

But it has now emerged that party rules have been waived to allow the veteran former councillor back into the Labour fold.

Sources claim it is thank you for his efforts campaigning for a No vote during the Referendum and for Labour during the Westminster elections in May.

He has also had the support of several influential figures on Glasgow's south side, including former MP Ian Davidson and senior city councillor Matt Kerr.

But his reinstatement has exposed party divisions in the Pollok area, where former Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont is also a key figure, along with council veteran Alistair Watson.

The Herald understands the local constituency branch refused Mr Morrison's application but that Labour's executive committee approved his bid following an appeal and representation by Cllr Kerr.

Former colleagues of Mr Morrison also claim the move points to concerns Labour is continuing to fail to connect with what has been its core base.

One former Glasgow First source said: "Tommy's readmission tells me parts of the Glasgow party no realise that when they dumped so many as deadwood they lost lots of networks and routes into the traditional vote in places like Pollok.

"If Tommy is needed and he's not just back in as a favour this is embarrassing for those who decided getting rid of the old guard was the way forward."

Another said: "After the whole Glasgow First stuff died a death Tommy was back in all but name. But there's no doubt this has created a split between those who believe he's served his time and those who believe he done the dirty on the party."

Mr Morrison was one of 17 Labour councillors told in late 2011 that they had been deselected as candidates to make way for fresh blood.

Those rejected as "dead wood" were furious at Mr Matheson's perceived lack of support and his co-operation with Ken Clarke, the London Labour figure sent to oversee the cull.

A Labour spokesman said: "We do not discuss individual cases."

Mr Morrison was unavailable for comment