A SCOTTISH Labour boss has hit out at claims the party is just a UK “branch office”.

Speaking at the start of Scottish Labour’s conference in Glasgow, General Secretary John Paul McHugh angrily slammed the suggestion.

He told attendees: “Branch office? Not then, not now and not ever.”

In October 2014, Johann Lamont resigned as Scottish Labour leader, accusing the UK party of treating hers as a “branch office” – leading to the well-known phrase.

The term saw a revival when Keir Starmer suggested last year that he stepped in to effectively fire another former Scottish Labour leader – Richard Leonard.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar says Scottish Labour 'branch office' jibes are 'conspiracy theories'

Current leader Anas Sarwar has previously dismissed it as a “conspiracy theory”.

McHugh was fiery in his response to the term on Friday in front of Labour members and officials – Sarwar at his side – before saying that the Scottish and UK labour parties are working together ahead of the General Election later this year.

He said: “Voters are seeing a different Labour Party, a party that has changed politically, operationally, financially, and strategically.

“But our campaign will always be measured by what we do on the ground. And the more we do together the stronger that campaign will be.

“Now, conference, before I finish, let’s get one thing straight. Very often I hear this ‘branch office’ reference. Let me share my view.

“In the past year - Bellshill, Labour gain; East Kilbride, Labour gain; Livingston, Labour gain; Motherwell, Labour gain. Branch office? Not then, not now, and not ever.”

The SNP, meanwhile, has said that Sarwar saying he would "stand up to Starmer" to "defend Scotland" begs the question of why he would think there would be occasions where he thinks Keir Starmer isn’t going to have Scotland's interests at heart.

Alison Thewliss MP said the admission from Anas Sarwar was "an astonishing own goal" and "shows why voting SNP is vital to stand up for Scotland's values and right to choose".