Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn has split opinion north of the border among the two Scottish Labour leadership hopefuls Getty

Jeremy Corbyn's unexpected surge in the polls to become the front runner in Labour's leadership contest has split opinion in the party north of the border. Kezia Dugdale, the favourite to become Jim Murphy's successor, warned that the socialist firebrand could relegate Labour to "carping on the sidelines" for years.

The 33-year-old former deputy leader of Scottish Labour, who has refused to publicly back a candidate in the party's leadership race, had reservations about Corbyn's political record.

"There are loads of people [in the Labour party] who are quite prepared to say: 'Och, it doesn't matter if he doesn't look like a prime minister, there's someone who's authentic and says what they believe,'" she told The Guardian.

"But I want there to be a Labour government; otherwise I'm wasting my time. I don't want to spend my whole life just carping from the sidelines."

Ken Macintosh, Dugdale's only rival in the Scottish Labour leadership contest, has defended Corbyn after claims emerged that the left-winger would face a coup if he became Ed Miliband's successor in September.

"Corbyn has as much right to stand for the leadership as any other candidate and he should be given the same respect," the Eastwood MSP told the Daily Record. "Some of the comments and accusations that are now flying back and forth between his opponents and supporters within the party are unhelpful and frankly undemocratic."

However, like Dugdale, the 53-year-old former TV producer has not endorsed any of the Labour leadership hopefuls, including Corbyn, Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall or Yvette Cooper. The result of the Scottish Labour leadership race will be announced on 15 August.

The contest was triggered after Jim Murphy resigned from the role in the wake of the general election, which saw the SNP sweep to victory north of the border and Labour reduced to just one MP in Scotland. Meanwhile, Corbyn is set become Labour's next leader after a poll from YouGov put the Islington North MP 17 points ahead of former favourite Burnham.

The 66-year-old has also been able to secure the most nominations from local Labour parties, with 152 constituencies backing him, 111 for Burnham, 106 for Cooper and 18 for Kendall. But thanks to Labour's "one member, one vote" policy, introduced under Miliband's leadership, the nominations are merely a bellwether of where Labour members and supporters will vote.