KEZIA Dugdale should be ousted as Scottish Labour leader, according to a senior source close to Jeremy Corbyn who accused her of personal duplicity and being aligned to the coup against the UK party leader.

A former chairman of the party in Scotland also accused her of “sectarian provocation” - or factionalism within Labour - over the appointment of the only Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray to her frontbench team.

The leading figure in Corbyn’s London operation told the Sunday Herald that Dugdale should be put “out in the wilderness”, partly due to her close links with Murray, who was a key mover in a mass shadow cabinet resignation and a no-confidence motion in the leader passed by members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).

Former Scottish Labour chairman Bob Thomson also warned that Dugdale, who has openly backed leadership challenger Owen Smith, would be “signing her own death warrant” if she failed to accept Corbyn’s leadership if he is re-elected next month.

The stark interventions came after Dugdale was jeered at a leadership hustings debate in Glasgow last Thursday.

A section of the audience laughed when former shadow work and pensions secretary Smith said Dugdale was doing a “brilliant job”.

Corbyn reacted by calling on Labour members to show respect to the Scottish Labour leader. He also dismissed claims he could try to remove Dugdale if he wins the leadership contest.

Former Labour adviser Paul Sinclair claimed in an interview that Dugdale could face a challenge from her deputy Alex Rowley in that scenario.

Last night, the senior source in Corbyn’s camp at Westminster suggested that key figures in the leader’s inner circle wanted to see Dugdale removed because of her close links to Labour MPs who had sought to oust Corbyn such as Murray.

The Edinburgh South MP quit as Corbyn’s shadow Scottish secretary, but was appointed just weeks later to Dugdale’s Holyrood-based frontbench as a Westminster spokesperson.

Dugdale has also openly backed the leadership challenger, stating: “Owen Smith gets my vote.

“I believe he can unite our party and move us on from the divisions that exist under the current leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.”

However, the Corbyn source, launching a scathing attack on Dugdale, said: “I’ve never seen that level of duplicity by one leader of the Labour Party towards another. It’s despicable.

“There was real personal duplicity from her with her being aligned to the coup against Jeremy. Ian Murray led the charge within the shadow cabinet against Jeremy and she’s his elected mouthpiece.

“The left in Scotland is in the process of realignment and that process does not involve Kezia Dugdale. She should be out in the wilderness.”

Thomson, who was Scottish Labour’s chairman in the early 1990s, hit out at suggestions from Smith that Corbyn was partly to blame for the party’s heavy defeats north of the Border.

He said: “There is a clear hypocrisy in what Smith said as Jeremy has been leader for less than a year, whereas Kez clearly said she was in charge when she led us into the election.”

Thomson refused to call for Dugdale to be ousted, but said she risked further electoral meltdowns if she did not fully support whoever is declared the winner of Labour’s leadership contest on September 24.

He said: “It wouldn’t be sensible to replace the leader now. The proof will be in the pudding in next May’s local council elections. I don’t think she could survive two election defeats.

“Kez has to accept that if Jeremy wins or whoever wins that we have to support the elected leader. The appointment of Ian Murray to her frontbench after he had resigned from the shadow cabinet was in my view an an act of sectarian provocation. If they keep up with this type of behaviour then I think she’d be signing her own death warrant.”

However, a spokesperson for Scottish Labour said that Dugdale had the overwhelming support of party members. “Kezia Dugdale has the support of the vast majority of people in Scottish Labour. She received 72 per cent of the vote in the leadership contest last year.

“The problems of the Scottish Labour Party didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be fixed overnight.

“Kezia Dugdale has the long-term vision, energy and policies to get us back on track.”

The Scottish Labour spokesperson, responding to the criticism about Murray’s appointment to Dugdale’s shadow cabinet, added: “Kez decides who she appoints to her front bench team, nobody else.”