SCOTTISH Labour’s two top politicians are at odds over the party’s policy on devolution and whether Scots should be able to have a higher minimum wage than English workers.

Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray told the Daily Record on Friday he was not supportive of giving more powers to Holyrood – despite Anas Sarwar saying earlier this year he believed Scotland should be able to set a higher minimum wage than the rest of the UK.

Murray said he believed MSPs already had the ability to incentivise higher wages and said the Scottish Government “can still do things like that already”.

The National: Ian Murray

The Scottish Government’s rules mean it can only do business with contractors who pay the real living wage.

Murray, who will likely take over from Alister Jack as Scottish Secretary if Labour win the next election, said the party’s commission on devolution was not about giving Holyrood more power.

He told the paper: “The two big devolution parts in Gordon Brown's commission is to England, in terms of individual regions to England, and devolution out of Holyrood into Scottish local authorities and local communities.

“It was never supposed to be a menu of devolving powers individually to Holyrood.”

And asked whether he thought more powers should be given to the Scottish Parliament, Murray said Holyrood must make better use of the powers it already had.

He said: “Not personally, no. I think we've got to try and make it work better. Scottish Government need to use the powers that it's got.

“I don't think a discussion about devolution should be about individual powers anymore. I think it should be about what's currently used and how Holyrood can become much better.”

READ MORE: Scottish Labour MSPs told to U-turn and oppose employment law devolution motion

But his comments appeared at odds with those previously made by Sarwar in an interview with the Daily Record in February, who said Labour were committed to giving Scotland more powers.

Sarwar said: “I’ve always been in favour of us having, like they do in the US ... a country-wide floor, and then you have other rates that can be set in the different states across the US.

“I think that’s a model that is worth consideration here in Scotland, something I’d be very supportive of.

“Therefore we have a race to the top on wage levels rather than a race to the bottom.”

And, in line with the position of the Scottish Trades Union Council (STUC), he backed devolving employment law, saying: “We have set out in numerous manifestos that we believe that there should be a UK floor when it comes to employment law, and that we should have the ability to lift from that floor in different parts of the UK.”

He said a Labour government would scrap anti-trade union laws, ban fire-and-rehire and outlaw zero-hour contracts, all promises rehearsed at the party’s conference in Liverpool earlier this week.

But he raised the possibility of giving the Scottish Parliament the power to “entrench” those laws north of the Border.

“What we want to do when we get into government is deliver those reforms right across the UK, and through that UK-wide legislation that obviously benefits Scotland, but then what I’d be interested in is the phase two of that [which] is how we entrench those rights here in Scotland, and that can be done through devolution,” he said.

'Enhance Scotland's powers' 

And Sarwar claimed Labour were committed to giving Holyrood more borrowing powers, adding: “I think it’s right in the middle of an economic crisis for us to say we want to enhance the borrowing powers of the Scottish Parliament.”

Murray told the paper there “was an argument” for Holyrood to be able to go beyond “the floor” set at a UK level – without the need for extra legislative powers.

He added: “So it wouldn't be a legislative power, but they can still do things like that already – of course it's on a voluntary basis – but it's worked for large numbers of people.”

Sarwar is now facing calls to oppose Murray’s comments.

Collette Stevenson, the SNP MSP for East Kilbride, said: “We've seen the Tories repeatedly attempt to undermine the future of the Scottish Parliament and expect it from them, but to have Labour now confessing to it is staggering.

“Anas Sarwar and his Scottish Labour MSPs have promised people across this country that Labour will empower Holyrood to legislate on vital areas such as employment law – it is crucial he now comes out and opposes these comments from his Westminster bosses.

“Power over employment laws would allow the Scottish Parliament to increase the national minimum wages, extend sick pay, and ban fire and rehire – for Labour to be against those questions whether they really are a party of working people.

“It's increasingly clear that whether the Tories or Labour are in charge, Westminster can't be trusted on devolution, and the only way to protect the Scottish Parliament from power grabs is with independence.”