KEIR Starmer’s claim that a UK Labour government would implement the two-child benefit cap and the associated rape clause “more fairly” than the Tories has been met with outrage.

Katy Loudon, the SNP’s candidate in Rutherglen and Hamilton West – where Starmer was campaigning when he made the comment - called it a “disgrace”.

Loudon said: “There is no world in which a policy that makes a woman prove if a child was conceived through rape is fair – and for Keir Starmer to say so proves that Labour is just as cruel and out-of-touch as the Tories.

READ MORE: Mhairi Black: Keir Starmer should be 'embarrassed' to campaign in Scotland

“Saying they will implement the evil Tory policy more fairly seems to be the compromise UK Labour and their Scottish branch office have reached in their desperation to hide the growing list of divisions within the party. It's a disgrace.”

Speaking at a Q&A session at Rutherglen Town Hall, where the majority of the pre-selected questions were asked by Labour councillor Kirsty Williams, Starmer had insisted that economic growth had to come before anything else.

“We’ve picked very carefully and number one is growth,” the Labour leader said of his party’s priorities. “Economic growth, everywhere across the United Kingdom, the highest sustained growth in the G7.”

Starmer said that a Labour government’s anti-poverty strategy would focus on this economic growth rather than “specific arguments about this benefit or that benefit”.

The National: Anas Sarwar and Sir Keir Starmer

The Labour leader repeatedly refused to commit to scrapping the two-child limit, suggesting that doing so without costing it beforehand would lead to economic turmoil similar to that which followed in the wake of Liz Truss’s mini-budget.

Asked why Labour did not simply calculate the cost of scrapping the benefit cap, Starmer said that any money created by taxation changes had already been allocated.

Appearing alongside Scottish Labour’s Anas Sarwar, Starmer also looked to play down any talk of division within the Labour party.

Starmer claimed he and Sarwar were “welded” together on key issues, despite Scottish Labour opposing the two-child cap on benefits brought in by the Conservative UK Government.

READ MORE: 'A rip off': Scotland Office spends more than £75k on hospitality in 16 months

Confusion has surrounded the campaign from Michael Shanks – the Labour candidate in Rutherglen and Hamilton West – who has insisted he will both join Starmer’s Westminster group and oppose it on issues such as the two-child cap.

Loudon said: “The two-child cap and rape clause is a heinous and inhumane policy – and the Labour party agreed with us on that until they started to get a sniff of power. The Labour candidate in Rutherglen and Hamilton West knows this, which is why he has attempted to distance himself by saying he will vote against it.

“The SNP is clear that the only way to make the two-child cap and rape clause fair is to scrap it immediately.

“A vote for the SNP means real opposition to cruel Tory policies, cost-of-living support and real change with independence.”