ED Miliband has sparked criticism of his party after calling for Labour to embrace British patriotism to win back voters.

The former party leader, in an interview with Andrew Marr, seemingly endorsed proposals for Labour to adopt a Union flag-based strategy to resurrect their fortunes at the ballot box.

It follows the leak of a review which recommended the party make “use of the [Union] flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly” as part of a rebranding to help regain trust among the electorate.

READ MORE: Labour to focus on Union flag to win back voters, leaked strategy plan reveals

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Miliband said “of course” he is proud of the Union flag.

Asked if his party needs to be more obviously patriotic to win back support, he replied: "Of course we need to be a patriotic party, I find it pretty surprising that people think it would be controversial that Keir Starmer would appear with a Union Jack – he wants to be the prime minister of the country."

Miliband added: "At this moment, for me my patriotism is the incredible pride I have in how the British people have responded to this crisis. I see the contrast between that and the way our country is run – our public services that have been diminished and underfunded, key workers that have been underpaid in our country, the welfare safety net that has massive holes in it.

“The task in the years ahead is to match the spirit of the British people with the kind of country we need to be."

Labour’s patriotism plan was set out in an internal strategy presentation leaked to the Guardian.

Among the top recommendations is: “The use of the flag, veterans, dressing smartly at the war memorial etc give voters a sense of authentic values alignment.”

In WhatsApp messages, sent within hours of one briefing, senior officials ordered: “Please prioritise the union jack header images, not the plain red ones.”

However, Starmer’s spokesman insisted the document had not been endorsed by the party.

He told reporters: “It is not right to say it was presented as our strategy … We will write our own strategy and that will be a strategy focused entirely on how do we restore trust and how do we win in 2024.”

Critics of the Union flag strategy include Clive Lewis, one of Labour’s leading ethnic-minority MPs.

He said: “The Tory party has absorbed Ukip and now Labour appears to be absorbing the language and symbols of the Tory party.

"It’s not patriotism; it’s Fatherland-ism. There’s a better way to build social cohesion than moving down the track of the nativist right.”

READ MORE: Labour deny Keir Starmer 'fronted up' to Boris Johnson backstage at Westminster

Responding to Miliband’s comments, SNP shadow business secretary Stephen Flynn warned Labour would need more than a “PR exercise” to repair their reputation in Scotland.

He told The National: "The Labour Party shares responsibility with the Tories for the damage done to Scotland by Westminster over the past decade of austerity cuts and Brexit chaos. No PR exercise can take away from that abysmal record.

"People in Scotland have the right to decide their own future. The issue at the election in May will be this: who has the right to decide what sort of country we should be after the pandemic – the people of Scotland or Boris Johnson?

“Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson's. The only way to properly secure a strong, fair and equal recovery is to become an independent country."

Recent polling puts Scottish Labour on track to win less than 20% of the vote in both constituency and list ballots in May’s election.

Surveys have also shown that up to 40% of the party’s voters would back independence.