Simon Cowell has had a dig at 1D star Niall Horan’s choice of record label

Simon Cowell has taken a swipe at One Direction ’s Niall Horan – after his debut single was trounced by James Arthur.

The X Factor boss couldn’t resist having a pop after Niall’s surprise single This Town made it into the charts at number nine – but failed to beat comeback king Arthur, at number one this week.

Clearly feeling snubbed by the Irish crooner – who rejected a megabucks deal with Cowell’s Syco record label in favour of rival Universal Music last month – Simon told the Sunday Mirror: “He probably would have had a No 1 single if he’d stayed with me.

“But you know who does have a No 1 this week? James Arthur . Very pleased he’s back with us with a fantastic record.”

Hinting Niall, 23, should never have ditched him, Simon jokingly added: “Hashtag loyalty.”

Niall Horan’s unexpected single has only reached No9 in the charts so far despite him tweeting it to over 27m followers

Niall landed his first solo Top Ten hit this week – after it shot up 91 places following it’s surprise release last Thursday.

He is the first bandmate to release solo material, tweeting a link to the track to over 27 million followers.

He wrote: “Been workin’ in the studio, wanted to share this song I just wrote with u guys. thank you for always being there.”

It’s likely to move up the charts this week – and could topple James off his top spot.

Cowell, who appeared on the first X Factor live final tonight, has previously spoken of his frustration at being deserted by Niall’s fellow bandmates Liam Payne and Harry Styles – despite forming the band in the first place.

But he seems to have had an about-turn when it comes to James.

The X Factor 2012 winner was let go by Syco in 2014 following a spate of controversies involving the talented singer.

They included his use of homophobic lyrics and a song he wrote that appeared to promote terrorism.

Comeback kid James Arthur is No1 after becoming the first X Factor artist Cowell signed twice

But the 28-year-old has just been re-signed by the label after impressing music execs, cleaning up his act.

He quit cannabis and prescription drugs for depression, was signed for Sony Germany and was taken on by James Grant management group, who are now working alongside Syco.

It’s the first time Simon has ever resigned an artist from the show.

He’s notorious for his brutal axeing of former winners from his shows, who fail to make an impact.

This January it was announced that 2014 X Factor winner Ben Haenow was being dumped by Syco – after just a year.

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The former van driver, who beat Fleur East to be crowned winner, broke the news to Twitter fans in a heartfelt open letter.

Two years ago Cowell also showed Leona Lewis the door, after her Christmas album Christmas, With Love only sold 100,000 copies.

Series one X Factor champion Steve Brookstein was also dropped, as well as 2002 Pop Idol winner Will Young , who Cowell later branded “obnoxious” while admitting he wished runner-up Gareth Gates had won.