A move towards a more autonomous Scottish Labour Party is not a threat to the UK party but will kick-start a debate on creating a federal structure for Labour across Britain, Kezia Dugdale has insisted as she published a “joint statement of intent” alongside Jeremy Corbyn.

The statement begins by making clear Labour is a “democratic socialist party”; not a social democrat party.

Ahead of addressing Labour MPs and peers in the House of Commons, the leader of the Scottish Labour Party said a dramatic change to give it more powers and “put to bed” the notion it was a “branch office” of the London HQ was a big part in helping turn the party’s fortunes around from its crushing General Election defeat.

More autonomy meant not only control in Scotland over policy but over branch party management, membership policy and selections too. “That’s what I mean by a more federal way of operating the Scottish Labour Party,” declared Ms Dugdale.

Asked if Scottish voters would not get confused at an election if, say, on Trident replacement, Scottish Labour opposed it but UK Labour supported it, the Lothian MSP replied: “I don’t view it as division, I view it as devolution.”

She claimed it was a “different style of leadership; in a post-Jeremy Corbyn world people are quite relaxed about that”.

The party leader explained that there might be occasions when there was a “conflicting position” between the Scottish and UK Labour parties “but like many other federal countries across Europe there is a process for addressing that…”

When it was pointed out, the UK was not a federal state, she replied: “No but we have an asymmetrical UK and there is a debate to be had about how the Labour Party organises itself across the whole of the UK to meet the new politics, to recognise the changes in our country and make sure the Labour Party is fit for the future…I’m arguing for a federal solution to the way the UK Labour Party is structured.”

Ms Dugdale pointed out how in the past, Labour had been the party of devolution and had debated that in terms of the constitution of the UK but power was never devolved within the party itself.

“This is catching up with that wider belief in devolution and the idea that power best lies closer to where you need to make the decisions.

“I need to be able to set the Scottish Labour Party on a different course, to take policy decisions, to use the wealth of the new powers that are coming to the Scottish Parliament, to put them to effect and that is what I intend to do.”

She signalled that at this weekend’s party conference in Perth she will set out specifically how Scottish Labour would use the new tax and welfare powers going to Holyrood.

She said a more autonomous Scottish party would lead to a “big change across the whole of the Labour movement”.

Asked if it would inevitably lead to an English Labour Party, she replied: “That for me is a question that English colleagues should be encouraged to debate and consider. It’s not for me to comment on that.”

Lord Blunkett, the former Home Secretary, has warned about the fragmentation of Labour and the possible threat to the values and identity that made up a “common Labour Party”.

Asked if a more autonomous Scottish Labour would kill off the UK party, Ms Dugdale replied: “I utterly reject the suggestion this a threat to the UK Labour Party; this is to sustain the UK Labour Party. We know there has to be dramatic change in Scotland to learn the very strong lessons the electorate served up to us in May and this is a clear part of that.”