FORMER prime minister Gordon Brown faces growing calls to be part of a “dream team” leading the anti-independence campaign in the run-up to the referendum.
Senior Scottish Labour MSP John Park said Mr Brown, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont and former Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie should form a joint leadership team to take charge of the campaign.
Mr Park, who represents the same Fife constituency at Holyrood as Mr Brown does at Westminster, said the former Labour leader would make a “key difference” to the result of the referendum.
He said Mr Brown was “potentially more popular” than Alex Salmond and had presided over an increase in Labour’s share of the vote at the 2010 General Election.
A senior Scottish Tory source seized on Mr Park’s claims to say that there was “no-one better placed” than Mr Brown to attract the support of Labour voters to the anti-independence cause and that the former prime minister’s intervention in the campaign “could be crucial” to the result of the referendum in autumn 2014.
Mr Park, who is widely seen as being closer to Mr Brown than any other Holyrood figure, said Mr Salmond would be “apprehensive” about facing the former Labour leader during the referendum campaign.
“Gordon Brown increased Labour’s share of the vote in Scotland and is still popular,” Mr Park said. “Gordon Brown is potentially more popular than Alex Salmond and he would make a key difference in the campaign.
“He’s one of the few prime ministers in recent history to have left office with his credibility enhanced because of the dignified way he left Downing Street during his last day there.
“The humility he showed means that a lot of people view him in a positive light and that’s why I hope he’s involved in the campaign.
“We have to get people like Gordon Brown, Alex Ferguson and Alistair Darling, together with those like Johann Lamont that can reach out to a broad range of different people across Scotland. It could be called a dream team.”
A senior Tory source said: “If the referendum is to be won by those who support Scotland remaining part of the UK, then it’s essential that Labour voters turn out in large numbers to support the UK.”