The resignation of seven Labour MPs over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has led to cracks in the Scottish party, with a disagreement between its past and present leaders.

After former leader Kezia Dugdale urged party bosses to show tolerance and understanding, her successor Richard Leonard accused the quitters of letting the Tories “off the hook”.

READ MORE: Kezia Dugdale: Labour quitters were 'at their wits' end' 

Opinion among other senior Labour figures also divided down pro- and anti-Corbyn lines.

Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray, one of Mr Corbyn’s sharpest critics, said the leader had overseen “a culture of bullying and intolerance where his own MPs feel unwelcome”.


But Lothians MSP Neil Findlay, a Corbyn supporter like Mr Leonard, said Labour voters would not forgive the splitters, and said they would only help “shore up the Tories”.

His comments were echoed by Midlothian Labour MP Danielle Rowley.

The seven English MPs resigned from Labour to sit as a new Independent Group in the Commons cited Mr Corbyn’s failure to oppose Brexit and tackle anti-Semitism.

READ MORE: Ian Murray says party split is 'sad day' for Labour 

Luciana Berger, the Jewish MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said the party was “institutionally anti-Semitic” under Mr Corbyn, with a culture of “bullying” and “bigotry”.

Ms Dugdale said: “What I see is seven individuals at their wits’ end, all with their individual reasons as to why they’re leaving.

“I know that they’ll all be doing it with a great sense of sadness and regret.

“When you hear someone like Luciana Berger talk about anti-Semitism in the party you can’t help but be sad about the experience that she’s had and it’s deeply regrettable.”

READ MORE: Labour MPs split party in Corbyn leadership protest

Asked how the leadership should respond, she said: “With a soft tone, an understanding tone, a recognition of the multitude of reasons as to why people are saying what they’re saying this morning.

But barely an hour later there was little sympathy from Mr Leonard.

One of Mr Corbyn’s staunchest supporters, he said: "I am of course disappointed that these MPs have decided to leave the Labour party but today’s events will not deter us from our mission of working to achieve real and lasting change.

“Labour, the party of the NHS, the Equal Pay Act, of devolution and the Scottish Parliament and the minimum wage is today still the principal vehicle for change in our country.

"Today’s events will simply mean that we will all redouble our efforts to achieve a better and more equal society. The manifesto all Labour MPs stood on in the 2017 general election was and remains a unifying vision.

“It saw the party make advances, including starting to win back seats in Scotland.

"When young people are fighting for action on climate change, it is time to come together for the future, not divide. The Tory party’s failed solutions represent a dead end. We must do nothing to let them off the hook.”

He added later: “I fear that they [the seven MPs] may be going into the political wilderness.

"I’m not sure that their idea - and it’s a rather unclear idea of what it is they’re going to stand on - I’m not sure that there is a place in the centre of British politics for that.”

READ MORE: Kezia Dugdale: I quit as Scottish Labour leader over Corbyn's Brexit stance

Mr Findlay, who was Mr Corbyn’s Scottish campaign manager during his last party leadership contest, tweeted: “It is very disappointing to see 7 Labour MPs repeat the mistake of the SDP and shore up the Tories - this will be looked on very badly by Labour voters.”

Ms Rowley tweeted: “It is deeply sad and frustrating that some MPs have today left the Labour Party, because all this achieves is a strengthened hand to the Tories. But we won’t let that happen, we will remain determined, passionate & united - for the many people who need a Labour Government.”

Shadow Scotland minister Paul Sweeney, the Labour MP for Glasgwo North East, added: "I'm sad that some colleagues have decided to leave the Labour & Co-op Party.

"The Labour movement is the only force that can win political power for working people in Parliament to promote equality and justice.

"Unity is strength, and unity has always stemmed from broad traditions."

But Mr Murray said: “The current Labour leadership is breaking the broad church that this party once built its electoral success upon – a broad church which delivered Labour governments that lifted millions and millions of people out of poverty.

“The challenge now is for Jeremy Corbyn to listen and learn, and decide if he wants to keep the Labour Party together or if he will continue to foster a culture of bullying and intolerance where his own MPs feel unwelcome and are being forced out.”

Scottish LibDem leader Willie Rennie said: "This is a damning condemnation of what Labour has become and a compelling positive case for change.

"With their party captured by a bullying hard left that is failing to deal with antisemitism and failing on Europe, these MPs are rightly angry.

"Liberal Democrats will work with like-minded people to deliver real change."