A GROUP of Jim Murphy's supporters are preparing for Scottish Labour to break away from London and become a truly independent party in its own right, the Sunday Herald can reveal.

The senior activists have applied to register the name "Scottish Labour Party" as a legal trademark in the hope of a radical change.

Dennis Goldie, a former Labour council leader and Holyrood candidate in Falkirk, filed the application with the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in December.

He told the Sunday Herald a breakaway party should be an option after the general election, especially if a bad result forced Labour to fundamentally rethink its identity in Scotland.

Polls suggest Scottish Labour is facing a wipeout at the hands of the SNP in May.

The £500 trademark move, financed by the Camelon Labour Party Social Club, was prompted by Murphy talking about a distinctive Scottish operation in last year's leadership contest, and activists in Falkirk discovering Scottish Labour had not legally protected its own name.

Goldie said he and others interpreted Murphy's emphasis on Scotland as a signal for a breakaway party which retained only loose fraternal links with UK Labour.

If the trademark application is granted, Goldie said Camelon Social Club would be glad to gift it to Murphy to help make the break with London.

Goldie, who was listed by Murphy as one of the "supporting nominations" for his leadership, is a veteran of Labour politics with 30 years' experience as a councillor.

Three times provost of Falkirk, and twice its council leader, the 64-year-old was Labour's candidate in Falkirk West in 2007 and 2011 and is currently a councillor for Falkirk South.

He said: "During the leadership battle, Jim Murphy was saying he would do what he wants in Scotland, separate from reporting back and forward to the Labour Party nationally.

"That was interpreted as, 'We are going to have a Scottish Labour Party with decision making powers and everything here; we wouldn't fall out with the people down south, but we would be independent in the decision making process'.

"There would be fraternal greetings at conference, but all decisions would be up here, and it would be 'The Scottish Labour Party'.

"In the country at large, there probably is a view that the Scottish Labour Party should be independent of the national Labour Party."

Goldie admitted Scottish Labour HQ "might be very surprised" at the trademark application.

"What we are hoping is that the leader of the party will come to us one day and say, 'We are the Scottish Labour Party', and we'll say, 'Here's the paperwork.'

"It's not done for any mischief. It's done to be helpful."

A stand-alone Scottish party was also suggested for the Scottish Tories in 2011.

MSP Murdo Fraser put the idea at the centre of his doomed campaign to be party leader, arguing it was the only way to end the centre right's repeated electoral failure in Scotland.

The SNP said a similar idea from Labour activists showed panic over the election.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson said: "As Labour's slump in the polls continues in Scotland, they have become rudderless under Jim Murphy.

"No wonder activists on the ground are moving in a myriad of different directions.

"It appears some now think the situation is so bad that they are contemplating the Murdo Fraser option - close the party down and start all over again."

The trademark application was filed on December 12 with the owner's name given as "The Members of Camelon Labour Party Social Club" and Goldie and Falkirk veteran May McIntyre as the relevant "named members".

Covering electronic and printed material, clothing, badges, fundraising, and political activity, it would protect the name being hijacked by opponents.

After passing a preliminary "examination" stage, a formal notice was published in the IPO's Trade Mark Journal on Friday, triggering a two-month period for possible objections.

Asked about the trademark and breakaway idea, a Scottish Labour spokesman said: "We are the Scottish Labour Party, Jim Murphy is the leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

"This is a recognised fact, as demonstrated this weekend's very successful one-day Scottish Labour Party conference."