SCOTTISH Labour leader Richard Leonard is facing demands to fire a shadow cabinet colleague who has been accused of “humiliating” a colleague over the Budget.

Alex Rowley informed the SNP Government his party could support the Nationalists, but he did not seek permission from Labour finance chief James Kelly or Leonard.

One senior figure said: “Alex’s position in the Shadow Cabinet is untenable. He threw Shadow Cabinet collective responsibility out of the window, and undermined James in the process.

“After helping turn our budget response into a joke, he should have done the decent thing and resigned – but having failed to do so he should now be sacked.”

Another insider said Rowley had been "put on notice" by Leonard after being pulled up.

Scottish Labour has resolutely opposed the Nationalist Government’s tax and spending plans for 2019/2020.

The party wanted increases to child benefit and tax credits, policies which Nicola Sturgeon’s administration refused to endorse.

Kelly, the shadow cabinet secretary for finance, took the lead on negotiations with the Government, but talks were said to be brief and unproductive.

However, it was reported in January that Rowley, who holds the communities and local government portfolio in Leonard’s top team, had unilaterally contacted the Government to sound out a possible deal.

He wrote to finance secretary Derek Mackay to suggest Labour could back the plans if an extra £340m was given to local authorities.

It is understood he wrote that Labour would “work to support the government if we are able to secure protections against the worst of the cuts to local services”.

It was reported that the so-called offer was withdrawn as Rowley had not been given the go-ahead for the approach. At the time, sources said the Mid Scotland and Fife MSP had been spoken to “quickly and quite uncompromisingly”.

The gaffe was exploited at First Minister’s Questions by Sturgeon, who taunted Leonard:

“We are still waiting for Labour to bring forward any credible proposals for the budget. To be fair, Alex Rowley—I am not sure whether he is in the chamber—did bring forward proposals. He is a front-bencher, but it turned out that the proposals were not approved by the rest of the Labour Party.

She added: “To give credit to Alex Rowley, at least he brought forward a proposal. Given that he is a front bencher, we assumed that it was an official Labour proposal, but Labour members cannot even get their act together to agree with each other on the budget, let alone with anybody else.”

Rowley’s solo intervention caused anger in the Labour group at Holyrood and the bitterness lingers.

Another senior party figure said: “We need real action from Richard Leonard before Rowley causes further embarrassment. He humiliated James Kelly by his rogue actions, and colleagues will be furious if he is not sacked.”

Rowley, a former council leader and one-time general secretary of Labour north of the border, is a divisive figure in his party’s Holyrood group.

He was deputy leader under Kezia Dugdale, but the pair had a poor working relationship and allies of the Lothians MSP believed he was unhelpful to her.

He was suspended in 2017 amid newspaper claims about texts he had sent a former partner, but he was later reinstated.

Leonard later said the investigation ended because “the person who had made the complaint against Alex decided that they weren’t prepared to allow him to see the evidence that was being put forward”. Rowley was brought back to the shadow cabinet last year.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “Richard Leonard seems to have very little control over his own MSPs. Sacking Alex Rowley is not going to make any difference. Scottish Labour is more divided and more ineffective than ever, the Scottish Conservatives are the only alternative to the SNP.”

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: "Labour is an anti-austerity party. We want to bring an end to cuts, poverty, inequality and homelessness, and invest in our communities, so we don't accept that all that is possible is to move around ever-shrinking resources. With Richard Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn in Scotland and across the UK, this is our approach and no one should be in any doubt."