JUST days after coming within a seat of replacing the SNP in Glasgow, the Labour group in the city is reportedly on the brink of “civil war”.

Malcolm Cunning, the group’s leader faces a challenge for the top job from returning councillor George Redmond.

The businessman and landlord, who represents Calton, was a councillor for 18 years and held a number of senior positions when Labour last ran the administration.

He served as chairman of Glasgow Life and SPT, convener of the property and planning committees and was twice the council spokesman for development and regeneration.

He stood down in 2017, looking to spend more time with his family, but stunned party members when he announced a comeback. 

A source told The Herald: “We've known a leadership challenge was on its way when Redmond announced he was coming back last year. 

“He has a large property portfolio, he runs a credit union. He doesn’t need the money. He could only have been coming back to be the leader of the group or leader of the council. 

“What’s surprised everyone is how quickly he’s moved against Malcolm. This is an all or nothing challenge. If he doesn’t win there’s no chance he’s going to get a front bench position.

"This has been the talk of the steamie since Friday."

Our source said they believed Councillor Redmond would have the support of some of the older guard in the group. He’s known to be close with former leader Frank McAveety.

However, it's believed Councillor Cunning already has a succession plan in place, with depute leader Eva Murray widely expected to take over when he stands down. 

“Can you call this a civil war?” the source said. “Absolutely.”

Councillor Redmond told the Daily Record: “I’ve got widespread experience in the portfolios I have held. I had the economic brief, the Glasgow Life brief and I was the co-author of the Glasgow health strategy. I have also run a successful financial organisation.”

“Glasgow is not in a good place. People want the city cleaned up. One of the first things I would do is call a meeting of the business community about the city centre.

“The state of the city centre is heartbreaking. Big stores have pulled out. We can’t pretend it is not happening.”

Councillor Cunning - who has reportedly told colleagues he won’t serve a full term - said he would contest the challenge. 

He told The Herald: “Glasgow Labour delivered the best result in the city since before the referendum in 2014. We need to move forward, building on that success. Now is not the time to go backwards to the politics of the past.”

It's understood the leadership contest will take place next Monday.