West Midlands MEP Anthea McIntyre has launched a scathing attack on a proposed directive on "Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions" which she says is rushed through and will unfairly hit small businesses and the self-employed.

Miss McIntyre, Conservative employment spokesman in the European Parliament, said the measures - already agreed in three-way negotiations between the EU Council, Commission and Parliament, would not bring any real benefit to workers  but would have damaging consequences for small b businesses especially.

In condemning the report by Spanish MEP Calvet Chambon, from Alliance of Liberal Democrats in Europe,  she said: "Throughout my time here in the Parliament and in the Employment Committee I have championed better regulation.

"And this is not better regulation. It is a mad rush to conclude legislation at any cost, so we have abandoned our commitment to the Parliament text on this directive."

Miss McIntyre, who this week received an award from the European Taxpayers Association for her parliamentary work to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), said the proposed directive was particularly unfair because it allowed exceptions for state employers.

Speaking in Strasbourg, she said: "This will allow governments and civil services to exempt themselves from the very rules they will be compelling small business to follow."

"This is scandalous hypocrisy through unfair preference, unfair treatment, unfair competition. In ordinary language, a stitch up."