Former finance minister Tom McCabe today called for the new Scottish Labour leader to be handed "complete control" of the party.

He also hit out at the "arrogance" of the party's Scottish MPs at Westminster who have never accepted last year's election defeat was "no fluke."

Mr McCabe warns that the party could be pushed to the electoral fringes for a lengthy period unless the situation changes.

Former health minister Andy Kerr, ex-justice minister Cathy Jamieson and finance spokesman are all vying for the Scottish leadership after Wendy Alexander's recent departure.

The vacant position is leader of the MSPs group at Holyrood, but Mr McCabe said this should be extended in an article for the Sunday Herald newspaper today.

"Whoever takes over as leader of the Scottish Labour Party has to be in complete control of the organisation and policies that best suit Scottish circumstances," he writes.

This has not been the case in the decade since devolution with some Scottish Labour MPs in Westminster favouring the "watered down" title because they never accepted the "consequences of devolution."

Mr McCabe, also a former health minister, added: "These will be the same people who refused to accept that what happened in May 2007 was no fluke."

The recent Glasgow East defeat to the Nationalists underlines the new political landscape and failure to accept this could see Labour "pushed to the fringes of that new landscape for a very long time."

Mr McCabe adds: "For too long, there have been Scottish Labour politicians at local government level and at Westminster who have been resentful, and even contemptuous, of the Scottish parliament.

"That behaviour needs to stop now."

Labour could also give itself a "massive boost" throughout the UK if it faced up to the "discredited nature" of the council tax and the new leader should consider a a "timetable for abolition."

Mr McCabe says the SNP administration has delivered on enough of its manifesto commitments to give the impression among voters it is in "pursuit of change."

Labour should respond with "a leader who is seen to be in charge, taking responsibility and being prepared to say and do what is best for Scots, no matter who it might upset."