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Whoever replaces Jim Murphy faces an even bigger task

Jim Murphy announced he will resign as Scottish Labour leader next month. Photo: David Cheskin/PA Wire

The resignation of Jim Murphy, while not unexpected, plunges Labour even deeper into political turmoil in Scotland.

He has prompted the party’s sixth leadership election in eight years and there are no obvious candidates to take over.

His deputy Kezia Dugdale will take over in the interim but the 33 year old was only voted into office in 2011. One would have thought she lacks the experience needed to implement the root and branch overhaul Murphy has declared the Scottish party needs.

However, all of those with the required experience have already tried and failed to lead Labour in Scotland so will it be left to one of the 39 MPs who lost their seats last week to step up to the plate?

Murphy's Labour trailed Nicola Sturgeon's SNP in almost every Scottish constituency. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Jim Murphy’s final act as leader next month will be to hand the Scottish Executive Committee (SEC) a plan for reviving the party’s fortunes, they would ignore his suggestions he said “at their peril’’.

With the Scottish Holyrood elections less than a year away, however, the party cannot afford a lengthy period of introspection, soul searching and rebuilding.

If the SEC do act upon Jim’s recommendations and the party does find someone willing and capable of leading them to greater things then they are not going to have much time to turn things around.

Murphy was given five months, he had ‘’a mountain to climb’’ but a near Labour wipeout at the General Election sealed his fate.

Whoever comes next will have slightly longer before they face the ballot box, but is arguably facing an even bigger task.