Jeremy Corbyn has blamed Labour’s drubbing at the general election in Scotland on its involvement in the Better Together campaign.
The new Labour leader, who is due to visit Edinburgh today, highlighted the party’s failure to offer an alternative to austerity economics as another reason for the near total collapse in its former heartlands.
He also insisted politics north of the border was not about nationalism versus unionism.
Asked for his post-mortem, Mr Corbyn said: “I think what went wrong was the Better Together campaign.
“What went wrong was UK-wide failure to oppose the principles behind austerity in the last two general elections.”
Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said Mr Corbyn was “right to a certain extent” but added it was easy in hindsight.
He explained electoral law meant there could only be one official No campaign, insisting it would have been “ludicrous” for Labour not to have been part of it.
But he admitted the “very strong” Labour message that emerged from Gordon Brown and others in the immediate run-up to the vote “didn’t get off the ground quickly enough”.
“I think that should have been front and centre of the whole referendum campaign,” he said.
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson questioned how Mr Corbyn would know Better Together was behind Labour’s defeat, as he had not once travelled to Scotland during the independence referendum.
She added: “Many thousands of Labour supporters stood alongside people from other political backgrounds to fight for our UK last year.
“It’s a shame that Mr Corbyn’s Labour party now seems to be running away from their work, rather than thanking them for keeping the country together.
“It’s now up to Mr Corbyn to say whether the Labour Party can be relied on to support Scotland’s place in the UK in any future vote, or if he backs Kezia Dugdale’s flip-flopping on this vital question.”
Labour’s Scottish leader has said the party’s MPs and MSPs would be free to campaign for independence in future.
With Holyrood elections next year, Mr Corbyn used the opportunity presented by the party conference in Brighton to hold talks with the Scottish leader.
He said discussions about whether the whip for the party’s one MP at Westminster should be controlled by him or Ms Dugdale would take place at the party’s Scottish conference in Perth.
He dismissed former Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont’s previous claim her section of the party was treated like a “branch office”.
He added: “The Labour Party in Scotland is a very strong organisation. It obviously lays out the manifesto for the Holyrood election, it obviously lays out what they expect of Scottish members in the Holyrood parliament.”
Despite the differences with the SNP, Mr Corbyn said his party would vote with its MPs at Westminster on issues such as welfare reform, changes to trade union laws and Tory plans for English votes for English Laws.
At the general election, Labour was all but wiped out by the SNP, losing 40 of the 41 seats it had won in 2010.