Labour's Holyrood group has been told by its former health minister that it has to become more positive and face up to being in opposition.

Susan Deacon, who stood down as the Labour MSP for Edinburgh East and Musselburgh at the May election, said her former colleagues have been too slow to find their feet in opposition.

"It took some time for the Scottish parliamentary group to get to grips with the fact they were no longer in power," she said, in a BBC interview.

"Labour has to develop a more positive, narrative that defines it as a party and Scotland in a UK context. I fail to understand why it was thought an effective strategy during the election to take such a negative stance and scaremonger about what would happen if the SNP were elected."

The former MSP has become the professor of social change at Queen Margaret University, and has been restrained in her comments about the Labour Party since she stood down as an MSP.

But her radio interview is a contribution to a post-election debate that has hardly any other contributors from within Labour ranks. Apart from media commentators and one article by justice spokeswoman Margaret Curran, the only assessment of what went wrong for Labour on May 3 became public through the leaking to The Herald of a memo by one of Jack McConnell's former special advisers.

That also said that Labour had been relentlessly negative and failed to provide an aspirational message about making Scotland a better place.