GLASGOW’S new SNP leader is at the centre of a “jobs for the boys” row after the partner of a close friend and former employer was given a key job in her office.

City Council boss Susan Aitken is facing questions after naming Duncan McLean, partner of Holyrood deputy presiding officer Linda Fabiani, as her £38,000-a-year policy officer.

Mr McLean, 64, a former housing association worker and failed SNP council candidate, is due to start work in the leader’s office later this month.

Until recently, he was the secretary of the SNP in Ms Fabiani’s East Kilbride constituency.

Although the policy officer post was openly advertised and candidates sifted by officials, it is understood Ms Aitken had a personal say in the final choice of Mr McLean.

Ms Aitken and Ms Fabiani are long-term friends and have a previous financial relationship.

Parliamentary records show that between 2009 and 2011, Ms Fabiani hired Ms Aitken as a £250-a-day contractor to work for her on matters related to her role as an MSP.

Ms Aitken was paid £12,750 from public funds for 51 days’ work.

In the run up to May’s local election, Ms Aitken suggested voters were “disgusted” by the then Labour administration’s “cronyism and abuse of power”.

She said the SNP would “throw open the doors of the City Chambers, and bring transparency, openness and accessibility to Glasgow’s democratic life”.

In recent years, Mr McLean has worked for a series of SNP politicians, including Kilmarnock MSP Willie Coffey and former East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald.

Council sources said Mr McLean’s background in social housing had been a factor in his hiring, however Glasgow got rid of all its social housing in a stock transfer in 2003.

In August 2015, Ms Aitken chaired the endorsement meeting for Ms Fabiani as the SNP’s Holyrood candidate in East Kilbride, sitting next to Mr McLean at the top table.

She tweeted: “Why would you pick anyone else?!”

In another tweet, she said: “I loved @LindaFabianiSNP long before it was all the rage, you know.”

Ms Aitken has been a councillor for Langside since 2012, and SNP group leader since 2014.

Mr McLean stood unsuccessfully as an SNP council candidate in South Lanarkshire in 2012.

A Labour source said: "This process looks like jobs for the boys.

Glasgow City Council isn't a social landlord, so the argument that the leader’s top policy guru needs to be a housing expert is tissue paper thin.

“The shine is coming off the Nationalists in Glasgow pretty quickly."

A council spokesman said: “The post was publicly advertised and a suitably-qualified candidate was appointed after a competitive interview process.”

Within weeks of the SNP forming the minority administration in Glasgow in May, the council advertised for a policy officer and principal policy officer to work in Ms Aitken’s office.

The online advert for the policy officer post filled by Mr McLean said it would pay between £32,333 and £38,043 for 35 hours a week.

The job description said candidates “should have a good understanding of the complex socio-economic issues affecting Glasgow” and be “expected to make recommendations for the improvement and management of policy implementation”.

According to a candidate profile of him posted on Ms Fabiani’s website at the time, Mr McLean has been a member of East Kilbride for 15 years and had worked in housing and regeneration for more than 20 years, and was still a “consultant” in that field.

After the 2012 local elections, the Labour administration in Glasgow was involved in a similar “jobs for the boys” row after the late Tom McCabe was hired as a council policy officer.

The former Labour MSP got a £50,000-a-year post in environmental services division after losing his Hamilton seat to the SNP in 2011.

The appointment was queried at the time by SNP MSP James Dornan.