LABOUR’S Ian Murray has insisted he is not trying to undermine party boss Richard Leonard.

The former shadow secretary of state for Scotland has joined forces with Kezia Dugdale and MEP Catherine Stihler to form Scottish Labour for the Single Market.

The group takes a different approach to Brexit than Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn and has been set up to “fight for the party to support permanent UK membership of the European single market and customs union”.

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Labour’s party faithful gather in Dundee this weekend for their annual spring conference, but just one hour, early on Sunday morning, has been spared to debate Brexit.

And a fair chunk of that hour will be given over to Neil Findlay, the veteran left winger, who is loyal to Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn.

Anti-Brexit insiders fear dissenting voices might struggle to be heard, despite 10 of Scotland’s 73 constituency Labour parties submitting motions backing permanent single market membership.

Murray expressed his frustration with Corbyn during an interview with Radio Scotland yesterday, but insisted the new group was about Brexit and not the leadership of the Labour Party.

Speaking on BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Murray said: “It’s very difficult as the EU keeps saying to have your cake and eat it and that’s what the Prime Minster and the leader of the opposition seem to want to do.”

While he welcomed Corbyn’s recent announcement that Labour would seek to form a new UK-EU customs union to ensure tariff-free trade after Brexit, he pointed out that the EU has made clear it will not negotiate a bespoke deal for the customs union.

Murray said: “The single market and the customs union is quite clearly the only way you can resolve some of these issues.”

He added: “It’s got absolutely nothing to do with the leadership of the UK or the Scottish Labour parties ... It’s an attempt by the grassroots of the Labour Party to come together and the tell the leadership of the Labour Party that the least worst option for the country of leaving the European Union is to stay in the single market and the customs union.”

The row overshadowed new research from the group showing that a hard Brexit would immediately cost an average worker in Scotland £116-a-year.

The analysis, conducted by anti-Brexit campaign group Open Britain, is based on annual and cumulative losses in salary based on the UK Government’s projection that the economy in Scotland will forego 0.5 per cent annual GDP growth with a hard “no deal” Brexit.

That means by 2027, they say, 10 years after the referendum, the average Scot would lose £873 a year, a cumulative lose of £3408 over the decade.

The LibDems welcomed the report. Tavish Scott said: “Labour politicians speaking sense on Brexit is good news. We want more of Ian Murray making a good case for the single market and less of Jeremy Corbyn.”

Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “This campaign group, set up by Kezia Dugdale, is more about Scottish Labour’s internal splits than it is about facing up to the challenges and opportunities of Brexit.

“With today’s copybook exercise in doom-mongering, it’s clear that Ms Dugdale’s new career as Nicola Sturgeon’s apprentice is coming along splendidly.”