FORMER Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy was an “insincere” Blairite who would “brief and undermine colleagues” to further his ambitions, a senior MSP and party colleague will claim in an explosive new book.

In his diaries of the last few turbulent years in politics, Labour's Neil Findlay blasts Murphy’s troubled, six-month leadership of the party in Scotland.

In Socialism and Hope – a journey through troubled times, published next month, Findlay claims that Murphy, “hasn't a principled bone in his body”.

Extracts seen by the Sunday Herald record his thoughts at the time of the 2014 independence referendum, the disastrous 2015 General Election and assorted Labour leadership contests.

Findlay, who is Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's closest ally in Scotland, attacks Murphy’s leadership role in the widely-criticised Better Together campaign.

Corbyn, who today completes a five day campaigning tour of Scotland, has written a foreword to the diaries in which he praises an "honest, frank and challenging" book.

Meanwhile, Findlay says Labour should have distanced itself from it, which was Labour-led but backed by the Tories, commenting, "We should have had a strong Labour campaign, radical and distinct from the woeful Better Together effort, who appear not to have a clue what they are doing."

Findlay also claims Murphy wanted independence supporters to "behave like a rowdy mob so undecided voters will be turned off by it” when he was pelted by eggs in Kirkcaldy during his Irn Bru-crate speaking tour – the self-styled 100 Streets in 100 Days – in the referendum campaign.

He writes that Murphy "is of course milking this for all its worth", adding: "These events are getting worse and worse and the Yes mob who turn up are doing exactly what Murphy wants."

He describes Murphy's conduct in the weeks after the referendum as an "outrage" and goes on to accuse Murphy of having used "every trick and manoeuvre" from "the Blairite recipe book" to plot against colleagues, such as the then Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont in autumn 2014.

In the contest to succeed Lamont. that saw the former UK cabinet minister defeat Findlay in the December 2014 election, he claims that Murphy "hates the trade unions", but is "pulling out all the stops to win their support".

Findlay went on to serve as Murphy's shadow cabinet spokesperson on fair work after the contest, but claims that colleagues were not consulted on policy changes, such as the controversial call to end the ban on alcohol in Scotland's football stadiums on match days.

In the book, to be published by Luath Press, Findlay comments: "He [Murphy] said that 'because young, working-class men don't like us we had to do something'. So the answer apparently is to get them all bevvied at the fitba’! He hasn't a principled bone in his body. This is the type of politics people are rejecting."

However, Findlay's main criticism comes after Murphy presided over Scottish Labour's loss of 40 seats at the 2015 General Election, when the former minister lost his own East Renfrewshire constituency.

He accuses Murphy of seeking to dupe Scots in that campaign by pretending he had abandoned his support for the Iraq War in 2003, even though he voted for it when he served as an MP under Tony Blair.

Scathingly Findlay writes: "My reflections on Jim Murphy: He was a capable communicator; a fixer who saw himself as a big beast. From being a student activist he set out to be an MP and believed his own PR. Every move was about his power and bolstering his control.

"He saw everything as the next tactic; little was about principle. Politics was an exercise in PR. He was insincere and indulged in every trick and manoeuvre he learned from the Blairite recipe book. He would brief and undermine colleagues if it suited him."

Findlay also criticises Murphy's decision to appoint Tony Blair's former director of political operations, John McTernan, as his chief of staff during his leadership tenure.

Findlay writes: "At the election he thought he had only to bring in the manual from the 1990's, complete with McTernan and a new Clause IV, and things would turn around.

"He was the NUS leader who supported tuition fees only to now claim he supported their scrapping. He supported the Iraq war only to say that had he known then what he knew now he would never have voted for it. He supported tax cuts then said he would increase them. All of this fooled no one. I am pleased he has gone."

The Sunday Herald contacted Murphy and McTernan to ask for a response to Findlay's claims.

McTernan said: "Neil (Findlay) has always thought I was wrong about everything and, to be honest, the feeling is mutual."

Murphy did not answer requests for a response sent via email, phone and social media.