JIM Murphy was last night under pressure to ditch his review of Scottish Labour after criticism by a key figure in the party that he was not the right person to lead it.

Duncan McNeil, the veteran MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, said a wide ranging and more radical approach was required – otherwise the party “may never recover”.

He also raised concerns about an immediate leadership election, arguing it should be put off until the autumn and after a summer reaching out and trying to reconnect with Scots across the country.

Murphy announced his resignation as Labour’s leader in Scotland on Saturday after narrowly winning a vote of no confidence at meeting of the party’s Scottish executive committee, saying he would remain in the post for a month while he carried out a review of where the party should go following its disastrous performance in the general election.

The review will underline the need to change the rules to elect the leader, replacing an electoral college system with one in which each party member has a vote.

But McNeil said a narrowly focused review on party rules and structure would not address the deep-rooted problems the party needed to face about how it reconnected with Scots.

“We are in uncharted waters. We need to do something new and surprising or our party may never recover,” he said.

“Jim was right to fall on his sword on Saturday. But that means he cannot now be the person to shape and dictate what the party does next.

“His paper on one man one vote... plays to historic arguments within ourselves, not the lives of the people outside. The principle – that power should be spread across our party – is absolutely correct. We must address it, but only as part of much bigger thinking about what our party is and what it is for.”

One Labour figure said last night that McNeil’s comments had struck a note with many others in the party including Labour MSPs.

“I think Duncan is quite right about what he’s said and there is a lot of support for his ideas among the MSP group and many others,” he said.

McNeil underlined the need for Labour activists to speak to people across Scotland and delay any leadership contest until this wider process of assessing the way forward had taken place.

He suggested deputy leader Kezia Dugdale could take over in a caretaker role until the leadership issue was resolved. “We need to get out in the streets and communities of Scotland and rejoin the people we come from. We are supposed to be the People’s Party and we should look to the people to help transform us,’’ he wrote on the Labour Hame website which is read by many Labour supporters.

“And we should avoid personalising it around a leadership campaign. We need to be focused on ideas not personalities.’’

He added: “Who knows what ideas might emerge? Who knows what we might become? And who knows what potential leadership candidates might come forward?

Scottish Labour is currently preparing for its fifth leadership contest in eight years after one of Murphy’s closest allies looked set to stand for the top post.

Ken Macintosh confirmed earlier this week that he was considering putting his name forward for election in any contest to succeed Murphy and has been canvassing support at Holyrood.