KEZIA Dugdale, the new Scottish Labour leader, has opened the door to a historic debate on Trident nuclear weapons at the party's next conference.

The Lothians MSP said she would not shy away from a "proper debate" at the October gathering when the party's long-standing support for Britain's nuclear deterrent, based at Faslane on the Clyde, could be challenged.

Speaking on her first day after winning the leadership with a large majority, she spoke of her determination to "democratise" the party and said a debate on Trident was "not impossible".

She is likely to come under intense pressure to discuss the issue if surprise frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn, a staunch opponent of nuclear weapons, wins the UK leadership and begins efforts to change party policy.

Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, attempted to check the growing momentum behind Mr Corbyn's campaign when he used a speech in London to question the left-winger's positions on economic and foreign policy.

He said Labour members had a "public duty" to choose a leader who could win power, insisting that was the party's historic mission and the only way to improve the lives of ordinary working people.

Mr Corbyn's team hit back, saying he was "credible, radical and electable," as the odds on him winning the leadership on September 12 shortened to 2/7.

Ms Dugdale will discuss arrangements for Scottish Labour's late-October conference with party officials today.

Asked how she would respond to calls for a debate on Trident, she told The Herald: "I've said throughout the campaign I want a more democratic Labour Party.

"I don't shy away from having proper debates on the conference floor.

"I've talked about democratising conference and enabling debate in conference and I'm going to start putting some of that into effect."

She added: "I think that's what people want.

"Democratising the party is right at the top of my agenda.

"I hope that will prove to people I'm serious about uniting all sections of the party."

Under Labour rules, conference motions are submitted to an organising committee by constituency parties.

Ms Dugdale said a debate on Trident was "not impossible".

Labour abandoned its commitment to unilateral nuclear disarmament under Neil Kinnock, in the aftermath of his defeat in the 1987 general election.

Scottish Labour's previous leader, Jim Murphy, a former shadow defence secretary, was a supporter of Trident, a view shared by other senior figures including Jackie Baillie, who has warned of devastating job losses in and around her Dumbarton constituency if the deterrent were scrapped.

However, many within Scottish Labour, at grassroots level and at Holyrood, remain strongly opposed to Trident.

The new Scottish Labour leadership can expect pressure from within to back Mr Corbyn if he wins the UK leadership contest and opposes the renewal of the ageing missile system, a decision on which is due next year.

Pressure will also come from the SNP which has long campaigned against Trident being sited on the Clyde.

Ms Dugdale spent her first day in her new job campaigning in Edinburgh.

Today she will highlight her commitment to improving the prospects of children from less well-off backgrounds with a visit to a nursery in Paisley.

She is expected to unveil her shadow cabinet on Wednesday.

In a break with the past, frontbench spokesmen and women will not "shadow" Scottish Government cabinet portfolios directly but reflect Labour's own policy priorities.

She said she wanted the October conference to discuss Scottish Labour's policy platform for the next year's Holyrood election.

In particular, members will be invited to debate new tax and welfare powers coming to Holyrood following the cross-party Smith Agreement on further devolution.

With the Scottish Government set to take responsibility for a £3 billion welfare programme and for setting income tax rates and bands from as early as 2018, Ms Dugdale said her party must agree on the "tax balance" Scots should face.

"I want to create the space at conference for people to talk about that," she added.

Earlier, the new Scots party leader said she would be able to work with left-winger Mr Corbyn despite claiming at the start of the campaign that Labour would be left "carping from the sidelines" if he won the leadership.

Interviewed on Bauer Radio, she said: "I didn't say that I couldn't work with Corbyn.

"I did pose some questions about whether or not he wanted to be prime minister. I just posed some questions about what Labour needs to do to return to power."

She added: "Ultimately, decisions about the Scottish Labour Party will be made by me here in Scotland with my colleagues, with party members and people that join our movement, and they will be made in the best interests of Scotland."