GORDON Brown has come out in support of Ian Murray in the race for Labour’s deputy leadership.

And another former Prime Minister and Labour leader, Tony Blair, has also endorsed the Edinburgh South MP’s central message of change for his party.

In a statement to Scientists for Labour, Mr Brown said: “I know Ian Murray to have been committed to and directly involved in supporting investment in science in our country, not least because of his association with Edinburgh University and in particular its science campus at King’s Buildings.

“As a candidate whom I support for the deputy leadership, he can ensure that the next Labour manifesto will give the priority to science and innovation that scientists deserve and is the best way forward for our country.”

Meanwhile, in a post on Twitter, Mr Blair noted: “Strong argument by @IanMurrayMP that needs to be made – and heard – if Labour is going to once again become a party of government - Tony Blair.”

In response to the ex-PMs’ remarks, Mr Murray said: “I’m honoured to have my analysis, plan and direction for the party endorsed by two former Prime Ministers. I will never trash the record of the last Labour government.

“Tony Blair and Gordon Brown delivered transformational change in our country that lifted millions out of poverty, creating opportunities for people that have since been taken away by the Tories.

“The only way to get Labour back into power is to change our party once again,” he declared.

“If members are happy with remaining in opposition and want more of the same, they shouldn’t vote for me; they should vote for a continuity candidate.

“I believe we can’t just continue with a different voice and a different face; we need to change direction too,” insisted Mr Murray.

Earlier this week, he won endorsement from the Labour Movement for Europe, one of the party’s 20 affiliated socialist societies. However, he has not received support from a major union and so looks set to have to win backing from 33 local parties to get his name on the final ballot.

Each leadership and deputy leadership candidate must, by February 14, gain the nominations of either 33 local parties or three affiliated organisations, including two unions, amounting to five per cent of Labour’s affiliated membership.

Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, is ahead in the race for the deputy’s role, having received backing from the Unison and Community trade unions.

Leadership contenders Sir Keir Starmer and Lisa Nandy have already made it onto the final ballot.

Mr Brown’s endorsement of his fellow Scot came as Rebecca Long-Bailey, the Shadow Business Secretary, prepared to give a speech this evening, which will touch on nationalisation.

Meanwhile, Labour's membership surged to more than 580,000 after its general election defeat, which the party's official report has blamed on Brexit while largely absolving Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership.

The post-mortem examination circulated to the party's ruling National Executive Committee found it would be "unrealistic" not to say its policy to hold a fresh referendum played a "decisive" role.

Radicalism was largely ruled out as being at fault in the report by election co-ordinators Andrew Gwynne and Ian Lavery but they did blame a glut of policies for confusing the public.

While the MPs accepted there were "negative views" of the outgoing leader, there was little blame laid at any of his actions.

The increase in membership to what was described as the party's largest number ever was revealed at an NEC meeting yesterday. Last summer the membership stood at 485,000.

The members will vote along with other supporters for Mr Corbyn's successor, who will be tasked with restoring the party from its gravest general election defeat since 1935.

The results of the ballots will be announced at a special conference in London on April 4.