Gordon Brown says UK at risk in final Commons speech

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Picture: PA
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Picture: PA
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FORMER Prime Minister Gordon Brown has warned that the UK is “at risk” and condemned the Conservatives for appealing to English nationalism as he gave his final speech in the House of Commons.

The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, one of 86 MPs stepping down at the election on 7 May, said he will “continue to fight and fight again” for a Britain of “shared values” and “social justice”.

He told MPs: “I sense the UK today is at risk. It is at the point of departure.”

He went on: “Whatever the future in the constitutional revolution, I will fight and fight to renew a vision of Britain.”

However, he bemoaned the way the “official government policy to create two classes of MP” for the first time in more than 300 years of the Union.

He warned that the Tories have tried to “mimic the Nationalists” by making “a direct nationalist appeal to people in England.”

Of the Tory proposal for English votes for English laws, he said in reality it was “it is English laws for English votes” in the election campaign.

The Labour stalwart, surrounded by party colleagues, also insisted Britain must continue to fight to shape the world beyond its shores.

He acknowledged the British people are better than they are often presumed by their leaders, and are ready to respond to a more caring, less selfish vision for the country contained in the “me too, me first, me now, me above all, me whatever” manifestos.

With an eight-minute time limit on the speech, shadow chancellor Ed Balls was among those encouraging Mr Brown to allow Labour’s Clive Efford (Eltham) to intervene to allow himself an extra minute to speak.

After allowing the intervention, Mr Brown concluded: “I have spoken today of what endures beyond anyone’s time in office and I want to leave here as I came here – with an unquenchable faith in the future.

“The future for our country that we can build and share together, a future where we help shape the world beyond our shores, a future where we always demand the best of ourselves.

“This is the future worth fighting for.”

Concerns over the future of the UK were also raised by Tory veteran and former chief whip, Sir George Young.

Sir George pointed out that the Union is more fragile than it has been since the partition of Ireland, as he urged the next parliament to keep the UK together.

The debate, which consisted of farewell speeches by MPs leaving at the election, also saw contributions from Sir Malcolm Bruce, the Lib Dem MP for Gordon, Aberdeen North Labour MP Frank Doran, his party colleagues Midlothian MP David Hamilton and Stirling MP Anne McGuire.

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