ANAS Sarwar has lost control of Scottish Labour, the SNP have said, after a council chief boasted of having ignored entreaties from his party leadership.

Stephen McCabe, the Scottish Labour councillor serving as the leader of Inverclyde Council, said at a meeting on Thursday that he had told his party’s higher-ups that he would make the decisions, “not them”.

McCabe has become embroiled in a row over devolution after he wrote to Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove asking him to pass funding from Barnett consequentials directly to councils, bypassing Holyrood.

READ MORE: 'Full blown crisis': Second Labour figure calls for devolution override in tax row

The Scottish Government has pledged to fund a council tax freeze – a policy supported by Scottish Labour boss Sarwar.

Humza Yousaf has made clear that any councils which do not opt to implement the council tax freeze will not be given additional funding.

McCabe is looking to both increase council tax - which Inverclyde councillors voted to do on Thursday evening - and collect additional cash from government, leading to his letter to Gove.

He told a full council meeting on Thursday: “I stand up to my party.

“I got phone calls saying we shouldn’t be raising council tax, but I told my party leadership we will make the decisions, not them.”

The revelation led the SNP to accuse Sarwar of having lost control of his party.

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said: "Anas Sarwar has totally lost control of his party.

"The SNP introduced a fully funded council tax freeze to support households through the cost of living crisis. Thanks to pressure from the SNP, Anas Sarwar agreed with this policy.

"If Labour councillors are openly defying orders from their leader in Scotland, and bragging about it, Anas Sarwar must come forward and outline what action he will take against them.

"It is totally inappropriate that despite receiving funding to freeze council tax, Labour councils across Scotland are considering hammering household budgets already struggling in the cost of living crisis with unnecessary tax rises."

In a letter to McMillan dated February 27, Finance Secretary Shona Robison said that, should Inverclyde Council implement a council tax freeze, it would receive “around £2.9 million” in additional funding from the government to fund it.

Robison added: “If the council does not freeze the council tax they would be forgoing this financial support and its future baselining. It is our assessment that Inverclyde would raise around £2.9m from an 8.2% increase in the council tax.”

The Finance Secretary said she “could not understand the rationale” of Labour councillors to “impose such a hefty increase in council tax on the people of Inverclyde as it leaves Inverclyde Council no better off financially in 2024/25”.

She added: “I believe this would be an imprudent choice and would not be in the best interest of the people of Inverclyde.”