A FORMER top Scottish Labour official has accused the UK party of “betraying” devolution amid a row over employment law powers.

Former general secretary of Scottish Labour Michael Sharpe said that devolving employment law to the Scottish Parliament could boost workers’ rights and help reduce the number of Scots reliant on zero-hours contracts.

It comes after the STUC’s general secretary Roz Foyer warned that Labour’s pledge to ban zero-hours contracts does not go far enough.

Writing for the Daily Record, Sharpe said it was a “huge blow” when Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner last week ruled out devolving employment law should her party win the next General Election.

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She claimed Holyrood “won’t need” the powers “because I want employment law across the whole of the United Kingdom to be uplifted and better”.

Sharpe said: “The Scottish anomaly of having a greater proportion of workers on zero-hours contracts than any other country in the UK is just one of the areas of workers’ rights which successive Scottish Labour leaders have argued could be improved by devolving employment laws to Holyrood.

"Giving the Scottish Parliament power to increase upon - but not cut below - UK wide workers' rights has also been supported by the trade unions who fund the party and has been backed by members too.

"It has remained a positive policy for Labour members to campaign on during UK General Elections as a clear example of how Scotland could be better valued, respected and cared for under a Labour prime minister than a Tory.

"It’s therefore a huge blow that only days after learning of the scale of zero hour contracts in Scotland we see a full on London power grab from Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, who have made clear that they will no longer devolve these powers to Holyrood, should they form the next UK Government.

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"This is a betrayal of the 'party of devolution' and a slap in the face to the trade unions who have campaigned for this for many years. It is also a missed opportunity to improve the lives of working people in Scotland - none more so than the 109,000 on zero hours contracts."

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: "Mr Sharpe is a private citizen and is entitled to his own views. Labour is committed to a New Deal for Workers that will end zero-hours contracts for good, deliver day one employment rights and end the scandal of fire and rehire."

Reacting to the comments, SNP MP David Linden (below) said: “This latest intervention from a former senior Labour official shows how out of touch the pro-Brexit Labour Party are with people in Scotland.

“It’s time for Anas Sarwar to stand up to his London bosses and demand that employment law is devolved to Holyrood on day one of a future Labour UK government.

The National:

“Keir Starmer’s party was a movement grown out of trade unions, with the purpose of supporting workers’ rights.

“However, his party have moved so far to the right, they are content to leave Scottish workers’ rights in the hand of a right-wing, draconian Westminster government.

“At the next election, a vote for the SNP is a vote to reject cruel Westminster policies, tackle the cost of living crisis, and deliver a strong team of MPs who only answer to their constituents and Scotland – not Westminster.”