Glasgow City Council’s ruling Labour Party have lost their majority for the first time in nearly 40 years.
The moment came as Govan Councillor Shaukat Butt resigned from the party on Tuesday, saying it "wasn’t fair" that he had been "shoved aside" by the party, who suspended him last year leaving him unable to stand as a Labour candidate in the local authority elections.
The resignation now leaves North Lanarkshire Council and Midlothian Council as the only Labour majority councils in Scotland.
Councillor Butt is the seventh councillor to resign from Glasgow Labour since the city’s budget was passed by just two votes last month and in the wake of a cull of 20 councillors who were axed by Labour last year.
The resignation of Councillor Butt has tipped the balance of power at the council for the first time in generations, leaving Labour with 39 councillors in Glasgow and opposition groups with a combined total of 40.
Speaking to STV, Councillor Butt said: “I resigned from the Labour party yesterday. After 50 years as a member, Labour have shoved me aside. They’ve shoved us all aside. It’s not fair what they have done to us.”
Councillor Butt will now stand as a candidate in the local elections for Glasgow First – the new party set up by other rebel councillors who resigned from Labour at the time of the city’s budget last month.
Councillor Butt added: “I supported Labour every day, I’ve done everything for them. But I am now standing as a candidate for Glasgow First in Govan.”
In his resignation letter, Councillor Butt wrote: "I still want to see a Labour council in Glasgow and will under no circumstances be helping the SNP who just don't understand this city
"If I am elected, I will be voting with Labour on the council so we can put the people of this city first."
A spokesman for Labour confirmed that Councillor Butt’s decision to stand as a candidate for a rival party meant that he was no longer a member of the council’s Labour group.
The spokesman added that Councillor Butt had already been suspended over an ongoing court case.
"Mr Butt was suspended from the party last September after being charged with assaulting his wife.
"He remains suspended from the party pending the outcome of the court case, so cannot stand as a Labour candidate.
"Meanwhile, he is keen to contest the local election, which means he can't stay part of the Labour group, but he is continuing to support and vote for Labour."
The spokesman added that Labour was still the largest party in the council.
Councillor Stephen Dornan, a founding member of Glasgow First said: “We are absolutely delighted. We know that Shaukat wanted to join us but he needed to do it in his own time.
“We are now looking forward to racking up our numbers and putting forward a Glasgow First team for the elections in May.”
The SNP rounded on Labour, saying the resignation proved the administration was 'dying'.
James Dornan MSP said: "In the last few weeks of a dying regime, Labour continue to crumble in front of our eyes.
"I am delighted that Councillor Butt finally took the decision to leave the Labour party.
"If only he had done this before the budget then Glasgow would be in a better place than it is today."
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