Patriotic Scots ‘must back Labour’ - Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown believes a Tory government with strong a SNP Westminster contingent will create old divisions. Picture: Scott Louden
Gordon Brown believes a Tory government with strong a SNP Westminster contingent will create old divisions. Picture: Scott Louden
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GORDON Brown is warning of the possibility of a second independence referendum reopening “old divisions” if the Tories win a majority and the SNP gains a large number of seats.

The former prime minister, who is not standing for re-election as an MP, also urged “patriotic Scots” to reject fiscal autonomy and the SNP and back Labour’s plan for full employment in Scotland.

We have to realise what it means to be a patriotic Scot in the modern world

Gordon Brown

During a joint event with local Labour candidate and shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander at Elderslie Village Hall in Renfrewshire, Mr Brown will say: “I believe that the majority of Scots are like me, both proud patriots and men and women who want real change.

“And we need people to vote Labour because if we end up on May 8 with a host of SNP MPs and a Tory government we will not only be denied real change we need urgently but, as the SNP then demand a second referendum, the old divisions bitterness and acrimony will start again.

“It’s straightforward. If we want to end the bedroom tax, the food bank poverty, the zero-hours contracts and the neglect of the NHS we need a Labour Government.”

Mr Brown said Labour will hold an economic summit immediately after the General Election to boost jobs, expand city deals, encourage investment and provide jobs and training for young people.

He said this can only be done under a Labour government with the shared resources of the UK.

He will say: “In the campaign there has sadly been more talk about the job prospects of a few nationalist would-be MPs than about the job prospects of hundreds of thousands of Scots who will need new employment opportunities in the future.

“Our commitment is to make full, fulfilling and quality employment not a distant aspiration but a realistic objective for the Scottish people.

“The day after May 7, Jim Murphy and Labour’s Scottish team plan to send out letters for an economic summit.”

He added: “But to make this happen we have to realise what it means to be a patriotic Scot in the modern world, when only 30% of our trade is with the rest of the world outside the UK and when almost 70 per cent of our trade is with England.

“Being a patriotic Scot starts with concern for all the people of Scotland. So as patriotic Scots we do not resist the co-operation that benefits Scotland, as we draw on the UK-wide collaborative research network to create thousands of jobs.

“As patriotic Scots we do not diminish the value of our UK partnership when taxes from across the UK help fund the new City Deals for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

“As patriotic Scots we do not abandon the principle of sharing resources throughout the UK when we are able to use proceeds of fair taxes - such as the extra £150 million to Scotland from the bankers’ bonus tax - to create the jobs we need.

“And as patriotic Scots we do not spend our time complaining about what we can’t do in Scotland but instead welcome the solidarity across the UK that is embodied in our UK-wide minimum wage - which prevents competition forcing a race to the bottom between the regions and nations of the UK, and causing the good paying regions to be undercut by the bad, and the bad by the worst.

“Full employment should be a priority objective and not just an afterthought.

“And when the issue is who will deliver change in a UK government that benefits the Scottish people, I tell you from my experience as prime minister that a Scot such as Douglas Alexander would have more power to affect positive change during a 50-minute Cabinet meeting than any SNP MP could achieve in five years of protest outside of government.”