THE leader of Scotland's largest local authority has told the Orange Order his city's policy on parades was "wrong" and that it will be overhauled now Labour is back in power, The Herald can reveal.

Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, was greeted with applause when he told a hustings of around 100 members of the Orange Order that he would "hold his hands up" and admit a groundbreaking approach to reducing marches in the city was flawed.

But last night the head of the organisation representing Scotland's rank-and-file police officers said it would be "perverse" to encourage further parades, while the Orange Order said it now expects Mr Matheson to deliver on his promise.

The pledge comes after Strathclyde chief constable Stephen House championed Glasgow's parades policy as the one best reflecting the police approach to marches, while encouraging other west of Scotland councils to follow the city's lead.

Mr Matheson, whose Labour administration was returned last Friday with an unexpectedly large majority, said the council should have done more to consult the Orange Order and he promised a senior councillor would oversee a review.

He also told the meeting – held before last week's election – that a vote for Labour would help safeguard the union and prevent the SNP using Glasgow as a stepping stone to independence.

The council has repeatedly hailed its approach to parades as a success, with almost all disputes with march organisers resolved before the event.

Introduced 18 months ago, the policy was aimed at reducing marches through the city centre and restricting start and finish times amid concerns over the impact on public resources, businesses and communities.

Climate protesters and trade unions have had demonstrations curtailed or re-routed, along with loyalist and Irish republican parades.

According to council figures, the number of parades by Protestant loyal orders in Glasgow outstrips the total number of marches in Londonderry and Belfast combined.

Calum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, said: "Resources are finite and that's why reform of the police and fire service is under way.

"It would seem perverse if some kind of action is taken to encourage an increase in parade activities. This deprives communities of police officers."

Robert McLean, executive officer of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, said: "Mr Matheson admitted the policy was wrong and we're now hoping he will review the parades policy.

"We do not tell our members who to vote for but as a unionist organisation they should be supporting a unionist candidate."

SNP MSP Humza Yousaf said: "Gordon Matheson should urgently clarify whether he intends to allow more marches, with the implications that would have for policing resources."

David Meikle, Glasgow's sole Tory councillor, said: "Gordon Matheson pushed through the new parades code of conduct but it is now alleged he said he got it wrong.

"We need to find out from Mr Matheson what he got wrong and if he thinks the code of conduct should be changed. Clarity is needed so we know what the position is."

A council spokesman said: "Mr Matheson committed to no more than is stated in the policy – that there will be an annual review, which is under way."

A Strathclyde Police spokesman said the force's main concern was use of officers to police parades, adding the recent move by the Orange Order to provide stewards for their own marches was a positive step.