RICHARD Leonard should turn his back on the Jeremy Corbyn era and attempt a “fresh start” for the Holyrood election, the new shadow Scottish secretary has said.

Ian Murray said the Scottish Labour leader, who was an avid supporter of Mr Corbyn, should “wipe the slate clean” and try to move on from recent “disastrous” results.

He also said Labour’s position on Scottish independence had been “confused” in the past, and it should firmly oppose both independence and a second referendum.

Mr Leonard lost both Scottish Labour’s MEPs and six of its seven MPs in elections last year as Mr Corbyn led his party to historic reversals over Brexit and against Boris Johnson.

Mr Murray, who quit Mr Corbyn’s frontbench in 2016 in protest over his leadership, was reappointed as shadow Scottish Secretary by new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer this week.

On BBC Good Morning Scotland, the strongly pro-Union MP for Edinburgh South said: “We’ve got to go into the 2021 elections being pretty clear where we stand on the constitution otherwise we won’t get a hearing for the other stuff that we’ve done.

“We’ve seen it’s disastrous. We’ve seen last year, in 2019, both on the Brexit position and on the confused Scottish position, that these just don’t work with the public because none of the public believe you one way or another. 

“The important thing is to do what’s in the right interests of the Labour party, which is what’s always been in the right interest - to keep Scotland in the UK, and to keep the UK together.”

Mr Murray, who previously said Mr Leonard had got his position on the "coattails" of Mr Corbyn, rejected the idea of a new Scottish Labour leader, but said change was needed.

He said the new Labour leadership under Sir Keir Starmer was “an opportunity”.

He said: “It's an opportunity to have a fresh start, to wipe the slate clean, to look at the last five years as not being particularly positive in electoral terms.

"In terms of Richard Leonard being leader of the Scottish Labour Party, in terms of Jackie Baillie being the new deputy, in terms of a new shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, a new leader at UK level and a UK Shadow Cabinet.

"We want to be a much more positive, forward-thinking party, that listens to the public, responds to what they told us on December 12 (general election) and goes forward as a united party with a policy platform that everyone can attach themselves to.

"That is the fight over the next few years in the run-up to the elections in 2024 at UK level and next year's 2021 Scottish elections - that's what we're all fighting for and we'll do it together."

Asked if Scottish Labour should continue to oppose Indyref2 if the SNP won a majority in 2021, Mr Murray said opposition was the policy "at this moment in time", but acknowledged it might change as "that's the way political parties work".

For now, the policy was to have a constitutional convention with an eye towards federalism across the UK.