A MEMBER of Scottish Labour’s ruling body has been working as a lobbyist on behalf of Carillion and other controversial firms involved in government infrastructure projects.

Former left-wing MSP Cara Hilton, a prominent supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard, is policy and public affairs manager for the sector’s main trade body in Scotland.

Her work involves liaising with former colleagues at Holyrood.

Last year she was elected to Scottish Labour's governing body, the Scottish Executive Committee (SEC).

With Carillion and other firms in the same line of business now being condemned by Scottish Labour, the SNP said it showed the party's "hypocrisy".

The UK Government last night ordered an investigation into Carillion’s directors and said there would be no bail-out for the failed infrastructure and outsourcing giant.

The company, which directly employed 20,000 people in the UK, went into liquidation on Monday owing £1.3bn to banks and with a pension deficit of almost £600m.

Ms Hilton, 42, began working for the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) Scotland in December 2016 after losing her Dunfermline seat in the Holyrood election.

The CECA describes itself as “the representative body for companies who work day-to-day to deliver, upgrade, and maintain the country's infrastructure”.

It says its 300 UK members “carry out an estimated 70-80 per cent of all civil engineering activity in the UK, in the key sectors of transport, energy, communications, waste and water.”

Its 100 Scottish members include Carillion Construction Scotland and a number of companies condemned by Labour for funding a secret system used to blacklist thousands of workers.

The scheme was shut down by the UK’s information watchdog in 2009.

The firms included Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci, all represented by the CECA.

Mr Corbyn called Carillion’s collapse a “watershed moment” for British politics and used it call for an end to “rip-off privatisation policies.”

Mr Leonard yesterday said the failure summed up “everything that is wrong with our economy”, saying Carillion “had their snout in the trough of public money” for years.

However, despite her links to the firm and others like it through the CECA, Ms Hilton remains active on the Labour left.

Backed by the Campaign for Socialism, she was last year elected to Scottish Labour's SEC to represent Mid-Scotland and Fife.

She was then Labour’s general election candidate in Dunfermline.

Campaigning alongside her, Mr Corbyn called her a brilliant MSP and said "I know our party is proud of people like her”, but voters returned an SNP MP in the seat.

Ms Hilton also publicly endorsed Mr Leonard when he stood for the Scottish Labour leadership last autumn.

Ms Hilton has often returned to Holyrood since joining the CECA to meet MSPs.

Last February she took part in a meeting of the cross-party group on construction, for which the CECA provides the treasurer function, and a month later she took part in a meeting of the cross-party group on skills.

An SNP spokesperson said: “Yet again it’s a case of do as we say, not as we do with Scottish Labour. You don’t have to scratch very far beneath the surface to find out they’re not the party of ordinary workers - they’re hand in glove with big business.

“No sooner had reports about Carillion surfaced then Labour were looking to point the finger. “While they immediately turned their fire on the company for blacklisting, running a pension deficit and awarding huge executive bonuses, one of Richard Leonard’s biggest cheerleaders was lobbying on the firm’s behalf.

“Labour’s hypocrisy continues to wear thin, and again they’re left looking extremely foolish.”

Ms Hilton did not respond to a request for comment.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “The SEC is the democratically elected governing body of the Scottish Labour Party. This is a lazy attempt to smear a Labour campaigner with a first class record of campaigning for workers' rights."