ALEX Salmond has been accused of leading a male-dominated, backward-looking party, characterised by old-fashioned politics where women are treated as "an afterthought".

The broadside was launched by Harriet Harman, the Deputy Labour Party leader, who visits Scotland today to help her party win in a South Lanarkshire Council by-election, which, if successful, would lead to Labour taking control of the local authority.

Tomorrow, she will also be present at a Labour women candidates' meeting, which is to be attended by 80 Westminster hopefuls.

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Ms Harman said: "Women are an afterthought for the SNP. Now more than ever we need strong advocates for women in Scotland, at a time when women are being hit hard by the Tory-led Government's cuts. That's why this weekend I'll be with Johann Lamont and Margaret Curran, speaking to almost 100 Labour women in Glasgow, who want to be part of Scottish Labour's next generation."

The deputy party leader, who is also Shadow Culture Secretary, added: "In the SNP, women are seen but not heard ... It's still men-only politics essentially. Clearly, they have a blind spot, which is 50% of the population. It's the old-fashioned politics where men take the decisions and women abide by them, but Scottish women are living in the 21st century and we are backing them in their aspirations for the future in terms of equality ."

She pointed to the SNP's "complacency on women" last week when Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy First Minister, announced her "values panel" on welfare reform but did not include a single woman.

An SNP spokesman said: "Harriet Harman would do better to get her own house in order before lecturing others. Women represent over one-third of members of the Scottish Parliament – it's a lot better than the 22% at Westminster. "