A FORMER aide to Scottish Labour's deputy leader Anas Sarwar has announced she will be voting Yes in the independence referendum.

Anum Qaisar, general secretary of the Muslim Friends of Labour group in Scotland, said UK Labour had turned "toxic" and abandoned its values in order to win power at Westminster.

Qaisar also said Scottish Labour's proposals for further powers for Holyrood were "uninspiring and inadequate".

Qaisar, 21, was elected general secretary of the Muslim group two years ago. A Labour member in Motherwell & Wishaw since 2010, she is also the Scottish representative on the Federation of Student Islamic Societies.

She worked in Sarwar's MP's office in his Glasgow Central constituency as an intern for nine months between 2011 and 2012.

In February, she told the Sunday Herald she would be voting No in the referendum.

"For me, it is the basic concept that I think countries should be building bridges and not borders," she said at the time.

However, in a statement issued by Yes Scotland yesterday, the Glasgow University law student said she had changed her mind.

"It was Labour's vision of a social justice and equality that attracted me to join the party.

"However, as time passes, it has become increasingly apparent that these values are being abandoned for the cheap price of electoral gain in Westminster. I have come to the conclusion that it is only with independence that we can revive the very soul of the Labour Party, by removing ourselves from the toxic direction the UK Labour Party is dragging us towards.

"I waited with great anticipation for Scottish Labour to produce radical devolution proposals only to find they were uninspiring and inadequate. It is now time for real change, not just to tinker round the edges or wait for false promises of more powers to be enacted."

She claimed "extreme" right-wing policies would be forced on Scots by Westminster regardless of who was in power after the 2015 election. "As the granddaughter of immigrants I don't want to see anti-immigration and xenophobic policies at the forefront of political debates."

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Anum's support for a Yes vote is extremely welcome, and reflects the breadth and depth of the Yes campaign.''

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: "We respect everyone's view in this debate but we know that the vast majority of our supporters agree with Barack Obama that we are better together as part of the UK."