SCOTTISH Labour leader Richard Leonard was reported to be “considering his position” ahead of a meeting with his MSPs yesterday.

The claim followed ongoing political divisions over a second independence referendum.

Last week shadow Chancellor John McDonnell made clear the UK party would not oppose a second independence vote if the Scottish Government asked for one – in direct contradiction to Scottish Labour’s stance.

Despite talking to Leonard, McDonnell then doubled-down on his statement and revealed that Jeremy Corbyn supported his view.

The official purpose of yesterday’s meeting in Glasgow was for MSPs to focus “on our campaigning to remain in and reform both the EU and UK; the forthcoming legislative programme and the development of our progressive policies”.

But Labour insiders told the Scotsman that the “away day” will now be a crisis summit on the future of Leonard’s leadership.

A party source told the paper: “People were furious last week with how John McDonnell arrived in Edinburgh and changed policy and just cut the legs out from under Richard. It was an appalling way to treat him and party members as a whole and I think many people were actually more concerned about that than even what it was that McDonnell said.

“The meeting won’t be angry, but more full of despair and a pleading with Richard to show some leadership, stand up to the UK party and not let them write off Scotland and the party here in their total focus on doing anything to get Corbyn into Downing Street. But we will also have to discuss how we go forward with the recruitment of a new General Secretary and how we start attracting more funds because the financial situation is precarious.”

Another insider told the Scotsman: “If Richard thought being an ally of Corbyn and McDonnell would mean they supported his leadership, then he’s been brutally shown that is not the case. They are not interested in him or what he wants to achieve in Scotland, they’re interested only in themselves.

“Richard had to be convinced to stand for the leadership and now the same people who told him he could do it are undermining him and giving him terrible advice.

“If he’s not considering his position I’d be staggered.

“If he turns up to the meeting, then he’ll find that what the group wants is for him to say something, do something to show he’s his own man and that this is a point of principle. Otherwise how will he possibly be able to face going back into Parliament when it returns from recess? It is utterly depressing.”

The row over whether Labour should give the Scottish Government the power to hold a new vote on independence persisted over the weekend with deputy party leader Tom Watson entering the debate. In a message posted on Twitter he said: “Leaving the UK would turbo-charge austerity in Scotland with the inevitable threat to 1000s of jobs.

“More nationalism, uncertainty, and division isn’t the answer. We need to reassert shared values of fairness and respect, and remember we can achieve far more together than apart.”