Labour’s candidate in the Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election has promised to tackle the scourge of low pay in the area as he accused the SNP of hypocrisy over workers’ rights.

Campaigning alongside Scottish leader Anas Sarwar, Michael Shanks said Labour wanted to end zero-hours contracts, extend sick pay and raise the minimum wage if it wins power.

He urged his SNP opponent Katy Loudon to apologise for her party hiring a firm using zero-hour contracts, which she previously called “draconian”, to deliver her leafelts.

The SNP last week launched a review of its leaflet distribution operation after the incident.

Mr Shanks said: “While the SNP is tangled up in its own hypocrisy, Labour is getting ready to deliver a new deal for working people.

“People in Rutherglen and Hamilton West have been badly let down by our two failing governments, leaving workers underpaid and undervalued.

“Labour will tackle the scourge of low pay and insecure work in Rutherglen and Hamilton West and strengthen workers’ rights across the UK with our transformative plans.

“Katy Loudon must apologise for the shameful use of exploitative zero-hour contracts and stand with workers by backing Labour’s plans.”

In response, SNP MP David Linden said: “It shows the brass neck of the Labour Party to issue ill-informed attacks when they themselves would rather see powers over employment law remain in the hands of the Tories at Westminster than a progressive Government in Holyrood.

“If Labour are serious about improving the rights and lives of workers they’ll support the motion in Holyrood next week calling for the devolution of employment law.

Ms Loudon, who is seen as the underdog in the race, will today try to drum up votes by focusing on Europe and the first anniversary of Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget.

The South Lanarkshire councillor said: “Unlike the pro-Brexit Labour party, I won’t stop fighting to right that wrong for my area and secure Scotland’s return to the EU with independence.

"Comparable nations like Ireland, Denmark and Sweden are all wealthier and fairer than the UK.

“Brexit has been a disaster for Rutherglen and Hamilton West - it has cost us at least £156 million, fuelled the cost of living crisis and crippled our NHS with a labour shortage. We deserve better.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton campaigned in the seat with candidate Gloria Adebo, who challenged the Scottish Government to drop planned council tax hikes.  

She said: “After years of difficulty and disaster from incompetent governments in London and Edinburgh, it's time to rethink our politics.  

"Scottish Liberal Democrats want a clean break. We want to bring down bills amid a biting cost of living, invest in social care staff and services and ensure that people can get an ambulance or see a doctor when they need one.    

“Unlike the SNP, we won’t pretend that the problems facing people right now could somehow be solved by putting up more barriers with separation."

The by-election, which was triggered by former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier being ousted from the Commons after breaking Covid rules, is on October 5.

The SNP’s majority at the 2019 general election was 5,230.