The civil war engulfing Labour about the powers of the Holyrood leader has opened a new front, with several MPs expressing total opposition to calls for more powers for the Scottish party.

Former finance minister Tom McCabe last week told the Sunday Herald that the winner of the current leadership contest should have "complete control" of the Scottish party, rather than simply front the Labour group at Holyrood. He said that his party's Scottish MPs had been "resentful and contemptuous" of the Scottish parliament.

His article, published in the middle of the three-way contest between Andy Kerr, Cathy Jamieson and Iain Gray, jolted Scottish Labour and divided the party's MPs.

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown said he was opposed to McCabe's idea: "We have a leader of the Labour party in Scotland and in the UK, and that leader is Gordon Brown. Why do we want to start changing the rule book just because some people believe it needs changed? I really don't see any need for creating divides."

His view was echoed by Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP Jim Sheridan, who said: "This election is about the leader of the Scottish group at Holyrood, and that's the way it should be. We have a leader in Scotland - it's Gordon Brown."

Glasgow Central MP Mohammed Sarwar appeared to endorse McCabe's argument: "I am all in favour of devolving more powers to the Scottish Labour Party, but at the same time we have to strike the balance. I have no problem giving them more powers. Scottish problems require Scottish solutions."

East Edinburgh and Musselburgh MP Gavin Strang also agreed that the post of Holyrood leader should be bolstered: "I tend to support more autonomy for the Scottish party. There is a logic in giving an elected leader, who is elected by more than the MSPs, more of a role."

Michael Connarty, the MP for Linlithgow and Falkirk East, said Scottish Labour's problems were not structural, but related to the Labour MSPs' lack of courage since 1999: "Tom McCabe has been at the centre of what Labour has been doing for the past nine years, so it seems a bit odd for him to be claiming that it is a structural problem."

He added: "It's like he is struggling to find an excuse for the lack of bottle shown over the past nine years."

Glasgow North MP Ann McKechin said McCabe's idea was problematic. "I would find it odd to have someone as leader who was trying to control elections that were not their own," she said. "I don't think that whoever is leading the Holyrood group should be the person who is in control of the organisation of the Westminster and European elections. It doesn't solve problems, it just changes things around."

Falkirk MP Eric Joyce also disagreed with turning the winner of the contest into the leader of Scottish Labour. He said: "Federalism will enhance the power of the SNP, not diminish it."

Brian Donohoe, the MP for Ayrshire Central, said of the McCabe plan: "If the leader of Labour in Scotland is to be elected, then the leader should be able to come from any part of the party, including the parliamentary Labour party at Westminster. It shouldn't just be restricted to MSPs."

SNP MSP Kenny Gibson said: "Labour is clearly split between those who want to take their orders from London and those who want their party to have genuine autonomy."