LABOUR is to re-examine its decision to withdraw financial support from Kezia Dugdale in her legal fight with controversial blogger Stuart Campbell.

After intense lobbying by the former Scottish leader’s supporters at the UK conference in Liverpool, the matter was referred to Labour's  National Executive Committee (NEC) and Scottish Executive Committee (SEC).

The decision came just hours after the current Scottish leader, Richard Leonard, insisted the party would no longer bankroll his predecessor’s defence of a £25,000 defamation action brought by Mr Campbell, who Wings Over Scotland website.

“The decision has been made and the decision will not change,” he said, despite many of his MSP colleagues deploring what they see as a politically-motivated “betrayal”.

The change of heart followed the Glasgow Anniesland CLP trying unsuccessfully to get the decision reversed by tabling a motion for debate on the conference floor.

This was rejected on the grounds the matter was better dealt with by the NEC and SEC, something which could take several weeks.

Former Labour general secretary Iain McNicol agreed last year to the open-ended support of Ms Dugdale's defence of Mr Campbell’s action.

However Mr McNicol’s pro-Corbyn successor, Jennie Formby, cancelled the arrangement after legal fees in the case reached almost £100,000.

Ms Dugdale was an outspoken critic of Mr Corbyn when he was running for the Labour leadership.

Ms Formby's decision meant the party would absorb costs to date, but Ms Dugdale would face her own costs to continue the case, as well as the possibility of damages and Mr Campbell’s expenses.

Mr Campbell is suing the Lothians list MSP after she accused him in a newspaper column of making a homophobic remark about gay Scottish Secretary David Mundell.

Mr Campbell had said Mr Mundell’s son, the Tory MSP Oliver Mundell, was “the sort of public speaker that makes you wish his dad had embraced his homosexuality sooner".

In her column, Ms Dugdale said she was “shocked and appalled to see a pro-independence blogger's homophobic tweets”.

Mr Campbell, 50, who has become an influential figure in the Yes movement despite living most of his life in Bath, vigorously denies homophobia.

A Scottish Labour source said: "Members and delegates in Liverpool have openly been expressing their horror at the UK party's decision to cut Kez adrift, and have been putting pressure on the leadership to intervene."

Anniesland CLP secretary and delegate Paul Cruikshank said: “We’re disappointed it’s not being debated at conference but we are glad it’s being passed to the NEC for consideration, and I hope that Jennie Formby reconsiders the matter.”

Ms Dugdale announced on Tuesday that she was giving up her weekly Daily Record column after 220 weeks.