SCOTTISH Labour could have had 15 MPs in Scotland – more than double its tally – if the party had toned down its Unionist-focussed campaign and promoted Jeremy Corbyn more, the UK party leader's closest ally in Scotland claims.

Labour MSP Neil Findlay spoke out as senior party figures such as deputy leader Alex Rowley said Corbyn was largely responsible for the party winning seven seats in Scotland – a dramatic increase on the one seat the party won in 2015.

However, Findlay maintains that Labour could have more than doubled its Scottish MPs if it had adopted a different campaigning strategy to that of leader Kezia Dugdale, who based much of the party's campaign on opposition to independence.

Findlay argues that Corbyn's radical UK manifesto attracted Scots on both sides of the independence divide. He believes that Scottish Labour could have won over more of those who voted Yes in 2014 if it had not based its campaign largely on opposition to independence.

Findlay said: “There’s some frustration about the result because of a missed opportunity. They [the party] should have been much more up front and positive about the manifesto and Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign energy that was bringing people from across the Yes-No divide.

"If they had done so Scottish Labour could have had 15 MPs and be in second place ahead of the Tories in Scotland."

Rowley, who is Dugdale’s deputy, also said Corbyn had won seats for Labour in Scotland by appealing to voters on both sides of the independence divide.

He said: “Corbyn has given Scottish Labour clear direction. And more exciting for Scottish Labour was that in Scotland, in the last weeks of the campaign it was clear on the doors that the Corbyn vision of a better way was breaking through the never ending divisions around constitutional politics."

Rowley added: "Jeremy Corbyn has shown not only that he is a man of great courage, honesty and principle but more important that there is an alternative to the centre right consensus that has dominated British politics for too long.

"And more exciting for Scottish Labour was that in Scotland, in the last weeks of the campaign, it was clear on the doors that the Corbyn vision of a better way was breaking through the never-ending divisions around constitutional politics.

"We must now build on that momentum, build on the manifesto for the many not the few and be once again the party that inspires people, the party of working people that will challenge the cosy elites and their trickle-down economics that so badly fail the majority in Scotland and indeed across the United Kingdom."

Former Scottish Labour chairman Bob Thomson said Dugdale and her ally Ian Murray, who was re-elected in Edinburgh South, could not claim credit for the gains.

Thomson, who was heavily active in the campaign, said Scottish Labour's anti-independence campaigning had cost it seats.

He said: “Nobody said to me that they changed their mind because of the stance on the independence referendum. It was because of Corbyn and the manifesto.

"Kezia Dugdale and Ian Murray can make no claim to it."

Adding, "If we had concentrated on the Corbyn manifesto we could have won more seats."

Roz Foyer, a senior Unite Scotland official, echoed the comments, stating: “Scottish Labour should be very grateful” for all the MPs elected on Corbyn's coattails.

She said: "Scottish Labour was very damaged during the referendum by standing with the Tories, but Jeremy Corbyn turned the corner with a lot of Yes voters for us. The Scottish party should be very grateful and all the MPs should get into line."

Dugdale, speaking shortly after Labour won seven seats in Scotland, said: “This was a stunning General Election result that proves Scottish Labour is back.

“Just two years after we were nearly wiped out in Scotland we have staged a remarkable recovery and overturned some gigantic SNP majorities and pushed the Nationalists incredibly close in many seats."