NINE Aberdeen councillors suspended by the Labour party for going into coalition with the Tories are considering a legal challenge if they are disciplined by the party.

The group, known as the Aberdeen nine, are due to have their case considered by the UK Labour’s National Executive Committee’s disputes panel (NEC) today.

The NEC is expected to forward the case to the National Constitutional Committee for further investigation, with expulsion the worst case scenario for the group.

However the nine are pushing for the NEC to drop the matter entirely.

A source said the group felt Scottish Labour’s ruling body had erred when it suspended the nine last year for defying a request not to share power with pro-austerity Tories.

The insider said all options were now being considered and the case “could go legal”.

The source pointed to a recent Court of Session case where Scottish Labour’s ruling body was found to have erred badly over a Westminster candidate selection in Glasgow.

Jenny Laing, the co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, has now written to the chair of the UK party defending her decision.

She said: “Many other Labour leaders who would love to be able to do for their communities what we are doing for ours. Now is the time for the Labour Party to get behind us.”

The row over the nine has led to splits within Labour's Holyrood group, with supporters pushing Scottish leader Richard Leonard to end the suspension.

One of Scottish labour's biggest donors, property tycoon Alan Massie, intervened at the weekend to urge Mr Leonard to fix the "ridiculous mess".

He said Mr Leonard should "show some leadership" and sit down with Ms Laing.

However MSPs close to Mr Leonard believe the nine cannot be allowed to get away with forming an administration with the party's traditional enemy, in defiance of an edict from Scottish Labour HQ.