RICHARD Leonard has been branded an “embarrassment” after it emerged a high-profile row involving nine of his councillors has now dragged on for 1000 days.

The SNP said the Scottish Labour leader had failed in his basic duties over the so-called Aberdeen Nine.

The nine Aberdeen City councillors were suspended by the party in May 2017 after agreeing to work alongside the Conservatives.

The group, including council co-leader Jenny Laing, was rebuked by then Scottish Labour Kezia Dugdale, after defying her go into a coalition to run the city after the local elections.

Ian Murray, the Edinburgh South MP running to be UK deputy Labour leader, and Dumbarton MSPJackie Baillie, who is running to be deputy Scottish leader, both recently called for the group to be reinstated.

However the disciplinary process into the group, which has been coordinated by the Labour party in London, shows little sign of being resolved.

The extreme delay has led to criticism of Mr Leonard for failing to speed maters up.

SNP MSP Kevin Stewart, who represents Aberdeen Central, said: "Richard Leonard is failing in his duties as Labour leader - he is an embarrassment.

"We've now reached 1,000 days since these power-hungry councillors were suspended for ditching their principles to team up with the Tories - with no end to this sorry saga in sight.

"Labour might talk a good game on democracy and fighting Tory austerity but they can't be taken seriously with top leadership candidates now lending their support to councillors who have propped up this right-wing Tory administration.

"It's time for action. Will he back or sack these councillors? The people of Aberdeen deserve an answer."

Scottish Labour refused to comment on the matter.

A spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on ongoing internal investigations.”