DISCUSSIONS are taking place within Scottish Labour for the party to become fully independent of London control, The National has learned.

A well-placed senior insider said talks were going on about such a move and that plans would emerge in full after polling day.

“I think there should be a separate Labour Party in Scotland. That’s the way the party has to go. It’s got to be completely autonomous. There is a move towards this at the moment, and I think it will become apparent after the result,” he said. “It’s being talked about pretty widely, including among some MSPs. People won’t want to talk to the press about it before polling day but that is what’s happening.”

Supporters believe a separate party would allow it to win back support from left of centre Scots by producing policies more attractive to them, in particular over devolution and greater powers for the Scottish Parliament. They also believe the development would help address the perception of Scottish Labour as a branch office of the party in London.

Internal critics have recently rounded on Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, his predecessor Johann Lamont and shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran for failing to anticipate and respond to the nationalist surge. And former Labour energy minister Brian Wilson has criticised Labour leader Ed Miliband arguing that his position on refusing to deal with the SNP has a Tory victory “more likely”.

A YouGov poll yesterday of 1,162 voters put the SNP on 49 per cent, Labour on 26 per cent for Thursday’s General Election equating to 54 seats for the Nationalists at Westminster, leaving Labour with just four seats.

The poll also predicted huge losses for |Labour at next year’s Holyrood election, with the SNP taking 70 of the 129 seats, and Labour losing seven seats to take 30.

Another Labour source, however, was unconvinced the formation of an independent Labour party would help turn around the party’s fortunes in the lead up to polling day next year.

“People are worried about what’s going to happen on Thursday and what the consequences of that will be on the election next year. If we do really badly I doubt we’ll recover in a year’s time,” she said.

“I think we’d have to think about [whether the party could be independent from Labour in London] very very carefully and how it would work. We’ll have to wait until after polling day and see what happens. After the referendum lots of ideas came forward.”