RICHARD Leonard has thrown his weight behind a so-called People’s Vote, following ScottishLabour’s drubbing in the European elections.

The party slumped to fifth place, taking just 9.3% of the vote, down nearly 17 points on the election in 2014.

David Martin, who has been Scottish Labour’s man in the European Parliament for the past 35 years, and was the party’s longest-serving MEP, lost his seat.

He said the result “should be a wake-up call” for the leadership.

Martin added: “Labour’s message from the outset should have been that we are the party which wants to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom and keep the United Kingdom in Europe, and reform both.”

In a furious column, Scottish Labour MPs Ian Murray and Martin Whitfield, said the result was in part down to Leonard’s enthusiasm to be manager of Jeremy Corbyn’s Scottish branch office.

Writing in the Edinburgh Evening News, the two men said the people of Scotland had “delivered an utterly damning verdict” on the “ambiguity” being offered by Labour.

“The blame for the worst result in Scottish Labour’s history lies squarely with our party’s leadership.”

The two MPs said Scottish Labour “could have chosen very different path.”

“We are (or should be) an autonomous party – a hard-fought victory achieved by Kezia Dugdale delivering immediate results under her leadership in the 2017 General Election.

“The Labour Party is the only party that stands for what the majority of Scots want – Scotland in both the UK and the EU. That’s how you fight the nationalists, whether they be Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson or Nicola Sturgeon. And yet in this European campaign we completely failed to capitalise on this clear advantage, with a disastrous message that meekly echoed the UK Labour campaign, even putting Jeremy’s face on our leaflet to voters.

“This was Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Leonard’s manifesto, their message, their decision to ignore the membership and what voters were saying to us. It was their election campaign and their mess.

“They stuck their heads in the Brexit sand because they can’t lead.”

Corbyn had, they added, “personally handed victory to Nigel Farage”.

If Labour’s leadership failed to”listen and learn, our party will never recover,” they warned.

Leonard said that he was “personally extremely sad” Martin had lost his seat.

He insisted the party had put “everything into our campaign and were confident that our focus on jobs and a fair wage, schools and community would resonate with voters”.

Later, in an email to party members, he said constitutional issues had “cost us electorally over the last five years and that trust in us has been eroded.”

“We can, and we will rebuild that trust,” he added. “My intention is to begin to set out a planned way forward over the coming weeks.

“Starting now, with firmly stating that I back the option to remain and that any Brexit deal should be ratified by a second public vote, one that has clear and credible options for Remain and Leave.”

That echoed a change of heart from Jeremy Corbyn, who pledged to support a second referendum.

The Labour leader said he was “listening very carefully” to both sides of the debate.

He later wrote to MPs: “It is clear that the deadlock in parliament can now only be broken by the issue going back to the people through a general election or a public vote. We are ready to support a public vote on any deal.”

In Cardiff, Mark Drakeford, the Welsh Labour leader and First Minister, said the party there now also wanted a second referendum and would back a remain vote.

But not everyone in the movement is happy. Len McCluskey, the Unite general secretary, said those calling for a second vote were trying to start a coup against Corbyn: “Labour has been the only party that has sought to unite the nation on Brexit and this is an honourable objective that must not be abandoned,” he said.