WEST Dunbartonshire Council’s SNP leader has accused Labour of “bullying” a resident to write to Nicola Sturgeon over local budget cuts.

Councillor Jonathan McColl made the comment in last week’s council meeting just a minute after shouts of “resign” directed at him from the public gallery.

Last week the SNP announced they would divert £270,000 into their greenspace budgets thanks to new Scottish Government money for school clothing grants.

Labour put forward an amendment to fully restore the full £666,000 funding for grass cutting and greenspaces after their controversial cuts in the March budget.

They included a redacted letter supposedly from the local government division of the Scottish Government in response to a letter to the first minister.

The letter said there was an increase in resources to councils and local services.

It then included the line: “In light of this increase in funding the Scottish Government does not accept that budget cuts, as you have described, were at all necessary.”

Cllr McColl said: “It’s quite telling we don’t have a redacted copy of the letter that was sent. Labour have been lying to people in the press about the cuts.

“This letter doesn’t hold any water for me without seeing the letter it’s responding to.”

He added “lord knows what you bullied” some resident into writing. And “if anyone should be resigning, it’s every one of the Labour members”.

The chamber erupted in noise and Provost William Hendrie threatened repeatedly to clear the public gallery, with activist Craig Edward shouting back, “Do it.”

Labour Councillor Danny Lennie then launched a fiery response, saying: “What you stated was an absolute disgrace and you should be absolutely ashamed of yourself.

“You say you gave the public a choice [over cuts]. The public say, ‘No more cuts’. Do yourself a favour and reverse these cuts now rather than talk complete and utter mince.”

Councillor Douglas McAllister said he was “disappointed” with Cllr McColl’s “contribution”.

He said: “I was willing to congratulate you for recognising your mistake in the budget.

“Don’t come along to a council meeting and accuse me of being a liar.”

He, like other Labour councillors, said they had “unprecedented” complaints from residents over the lack of grass cutting and state of gardens and parks.

Cllr McAllister added: “Don’t believe me if you want to. Bury your heads in the sand. Bury your heads in the long grass. These cuts have to be reversed in full.

“I’m describing this as the summer of discontent in West Dunbartonshire - and it’s your fault.”

His colleague, Councillor David McBride said he was not involved in the sending of the letter but insisted it was “an SNP supporter”. He added: “They didn’t go on and make it up.

SNP Councillor Iain McLaren gave a lengthy statement on the importance of biodiversity and their plans to plant more wildflowers in West Dunbartonshire.

He questioned why others were “hell bent on ruining West Dunbartonshire” and the warnings from scientists about the future of the planet.

Cllr McLaren concluded: “A vote against this motion is a vote against our children’s future.”

Labour councillors and the Community Party’s Jim Bollan voted for the amendment. Tory councillors voted with the SNP members and Bailie Denis Agnew for the SNP motion.