SCOTTISH Labour is opening up to the possibility of backing a second independence referendum, insiders have indicated.

In a major change in position, a source said that if a devo-max or federal option is on the ballot paper, “then that would be given more consideration”.

Scottish Tory chief whip Maurice Golden said the move indicated Labour’s “long and painful surrender to the SNP”.

READ MORE: Leading Scottish Labour figures question party's opposition to independence following election result

He said: “Ever since the independence referendum, they just haven’t been serious about Scotland’s place in the union.

“Now [Scottish leader] Richard Leonard has confirmed his willingness to break it up altogether.

“This move is a disgraceful sell out of the two million No voters, many of whom identified as lifelong Labour supporters.”

It comes as Scottish Labour’s ruling body, the Scottish Executive Committee (SEC), is due to meet on Saturday.

It will discuss plans by Mr Leonard to hold a special conference in May to decide his party’s constitutional stance.

The Guardian reported that Mr Leonard will raise the prospect of backing a second referendum at the weekend meeting.

A Scottish Labour source told The Herald the SEC will only consider the timetable of any conference in May.

They added: “Richard Leonard’s position is that he is opposed to a referendum.

“But I think it would be fair to say that if there was a multi-option referendum being proposed, then that would be given more consideration.”

READ MORE: Scottish Labour must become separate political party - Monica Lennon

This marks a radical departure from Mr Leonard’s previous position, when he argued the 2014 referendum was “a once in a generation vote” and said he was "implacably opposed" to a second poll.

Last summer, his stance appeared to clash with shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who said a Labour Government would not block a second independence referendum.

However, a Scottish Labour source denied it was a major policy shift, and said Nicola Sturgeon had only recently raised the prospect of a referendum with a “devo-max” option. The First Minister told the Daily Record that if Labour or the Tories came forward with a “credible proposition” then “of course there has to be a discussion, but it’s not going to change my mind on independence”.

It comes amid calls for a major overhaul of Scottish Labour in the aftermath of its disastrous general election result, when the party returned just one MP north of the Border.

Labour MSP Monica Lennon has argued the Scottish party should split off from its UK structure and become a separate entity.

Yesterday, a candidate to be leader of the UK Labour Party said there should be "no question" of Labour opposing a second independence referendum if there is a mandate to hold one.

Clive Lewis, who represents Norwich South, said it is not for him as an English MP to "dictate to Scotland" what form its government should take.

Writing for pro-independence newspaper The National, Mr Lewis insisted however that radical federalism with maximum autonomy for Scotland would be the best solution for all UK nations.

Scotland's sole remaining Labour MP, Ian Murray, who represents Edinburgh South, has put himself forward for deputy leader of the UK party on a firmly anti-independence ticket.