SCOTTISH Labour has ruled out becoming an independent party after a consultation with its members found little support for the option.

Leader Kezia Dugdale will instead get greater autonomy for the party north of the border inside UK Labour.

However, a senior party source said the idea of creating a separate party could be revisited if Jeremy Corbyn retains the party leadership in the autumn.

Dugdale is believed to view internal reform as one of the ways Scottish Labour can establish a more distinctive identity and reconnect with lost voters. One of her predecessors, Johann Lamont, famously claimed the party was treated as a “branch office” after her general secretary was let go by the UK organisation.

In October, Dugdale and Corbyn agreed a “statement of intent” backing greater powers for Scottish Labour.

The party’s dismal Holyrood election result, in which Labour slumped to third place behind the Tories, was followed by Dugdale launching a consultation on autonomy. All options, including cutting ties with UK Labour, were on the table.

It is understood that the three-week consultation attracted scant support for independence and greater autonomy within the existing structure has been endorsed. In practice, this means Scottish Labour taking responsibility for Westminster selection, the management of local constituency parties, as well as being able to take its own position on reserved issues.

Retaining the link will mean Dugdale’s party is still financially dependent on UK Labour.

Rule changes will now be pushed through at the UK conference in Liverpool in September and by Scottish members early next year.

However, it is believed Dugdale’s deputy Alex Rowley had been pushing for greater powers under a ‘home rule’ model.

Former Labour MP Tom Harris said: “Scottish Labour has always had a large degree of autonomy. At least people like Alex Rowley now know that their views are not reflective of the members. I would have been very surprised if the consultation had come back and said members wanted a separate party.

“But this exercise is so typical of the Scottish Labour party. At a time when Scottish Labour is not considered relevant on anything, it decides to waste time on something people do not care about."

Stephen McCabe, a senior Scottish Labour councillor, said: "I am delighted Scottish Labour members appear to have rejected the idea of an independent Scottish Labour Party. The strength of the Labour and trades' union movement is built on our unity of purpose throughout these islands. We are stronger and better when we work together for the common good of all. Let's hope we now see an end to calls from those on either side of the border who would seek to divide us in the desire for some short-term political gain."

However, a senior party insider said: “Sensible people are against an independent Scottish party, but we may be left with no option if Corbyn is in charge. Being seen to be part of that nonsense would be damaging and harm our chances of a revival. The idea is in cold storage.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: "Kezia Dugdale has repeatedly made clear that there are no plans for a separate party. The process of becoming an even more autonomous party is currently underway, something that was kick-started when Kezia Dugdale was first elected leader. Under Kez's leadership there is no doubt that she is in charge of what happens in Scottish Labour. We value being part of a UK-wide Labour family too.”