Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Sunday, 27 September 2009 13:14 UK

Murphy's plea to Labour faithful

Jim Murphy
Mr Murphy said Labour was gearing up for a general election

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy has said Labour needs to stop feeling sorry for itself and fight hard to win a fourth term as the UK government.

Mr Murphy threw his support behind Gordon Brown, saying it was important for Labour to set out how its policies contrasted with those of the Tories.

His comments came as Labour supporters gathered for the party's annual conference in Brighton.

Mr Murphy said the event was a "curtain raiser" for the next UK election.

It comes after Chancellor Alistair Darling gave a newspaper interview warning Labour may have "lost the will to live" as a party.

Reflecting on the party's fortunes, the Scottish secretary told BBC Scotland's Politics Show: "I think what we've got to do is stop feeling sorry for ourselves.

I've always been the underdog in my constituency
Jim Murphy
Secretary of state for Scotland

"I think there's been a period where the Labour Party leadership, perhaps myself included, have thought 'well this is tough, this is hard, [David] Cameron's 15% ahead in the polls, he's got more money than us and sections of the media cheering him on'.

"You can either chuck it or fight harder and I think what Alistair [Darling] is saying is we've got to fight harder, because there's an awful lot at stake."

Mr Murphy said the choice for Scotland, come the next UK election, was between Labour and the Conservatives, while the SNP would be a "sideshow".

'Brilliant leader'

Mr Murphy also dismissed as "nonsense", concerns over Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray's profile, after it emerged the two would share a stage together at the Brighton conference.

"Iain is a brilliant leader of the MSPs in the Scottish Parliament," said the Scottish secretary.

Mr Murphy also said he was looking forward to the challenge of defending his seat in East Renfrewshire, where Labour came third behind the Tories and SNP in the European election.

The Scottish secretary went on: "I've always been the underdog in my constituency, I quite enjoy being the underdog - I've confounded the critics and the pundits three times and I look forward to having the chance to do it again."

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