WINNING back voters in Glasgow is vital if the Labour Party is to be successful in the Scottish Parliament, says leadership contender Jim Murphy.

The East Renfrewshire MP said losing elections and seeing most of the city vote for independence in the referendum campaign was a painful experience.

During the campaign he headed off around the country to campaign on his own with a pair of Irn-Bru crates, but he said the party got it wrong in the fight to persuade people in Glasgow to vote No.

Mr Murphy is contesting the party leadership in Scotland against Neil Findlay and Sarah Boyack, both Lothians MSPs.

He said as the party looked to reconnect with its traditional support base, it had to begin in his home city.

"I want a Labour Party that is as patriotic as Scotland and gallus as Glasgow," said Mr Murphy. "Glasgow is crucial to the Labour Party's revival.

"Throughout the British Labour Party, Glasgow is synonymous with Labour and Labour with Glasgow.

"Holding Glasgow is a priority and losing Glasgow hurts like hell.

"We didn't listen to enough people in Glasgow, to enough Glaswegians.

"We won the UK election in Glasgow and the council election against the odds, but we lost the referendum. That was a real kick in the shins."

The message and tone during the referendum was misjudged he thought, allowing the SNP and the Yes campaign to claim the positive outlook that people will naturally gravitate towards.

He said: "We have seemed like the status quo people. 'Vote for what you have got' should have been 'vote for what you can have'.

"We allowed too many people to think it was between a socialist utopia of Yes versus 'eat your porridge' No.

"If you had your time again you would have made a more Labour case for staying as part of the UK."

He said his idea of the UK is what he feels are the values people in Glasgow hold.

"Cities change", he said, "but the sense of solidarity and collectivism is what this city is about and what being part of the UK is for me. We should have made that argument more forcefully."

The leadership campaign has been portrayed as a left v. right contest, with big unions backing Neil Findlay and most MPs supporting Mr Murphy.

But he rejects that notion and asks where Sarah Boyack fits into that narrative.

He said: "Politics is about passion and big ideas. Not just talking to the people you have already persuaded. That gets you nowhere.

"I think a lot of these labels are outdated. The left-right thing is overstated. I don't think most people look at their politics as left, right, Old Labour, New Labour, they just want a Labour Party they can be proud of again, that shares their pride in their country.We should be more radical."

Instead he said he wanted to focus on issues that he said were "morally unacceptable", such as:

l The fact that on average people in poorer areas of Glasgow die eight years younger than other areas.

l The fact the city of Glasgow has been massively regenerated and there has been real change in lots of ways, but not everyone has shared in that.

He added: "Last week I was in the Arden housing scheme where I grew up and there has been improvements and new schools, but it is taking too long for the progress in the city centre to reach some of the big housing schemes.

"There has been improve­ments but we need to go further and quicker."

Mr Murphy has been an MP since 1997, when New Labour swept to power and has been a Government minister at Westminster and an Opposition front bench spokesman.

He said the New Labour tag would not hold him back and his background was more in tune with ordinary people than London based politicians.

He said: "I'm a Glaswegian. I've never felt comfortable with the Establishment. There are some people who enjoy that set-up, it has never been my gig.

"We have had six leaders since Tony Blair, two at Westminster, four in Scotland. The Labour Party isn't about Tony Blair or any one man."

He said his strengths were being able to communicate with the ordinary person.

He said he had been told he had "an ability to listen to working class punters and a normal background".

But he added: "You can't win these things by boasting about yourself. If people like what you are doing they will vote for you."