Gordon Brown: SNP win may put Tories back in No10

GORDON Brown has warned that the Conservatives would “probably” be the largest party and be in a position to lead the UK government if the SNP wins all 59 of the Westminster seats in Scotland in tomorrow’s election.

Former PM Gordon Brown on the election trail with Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy. Picture: John Devlin
Former PM Gordon Brown on the election trail with Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy. Picture: John Devlin

In a passionate speech, Mr Brown said Ed Miliband could not do a deal with the Nationalists because of issues of “principle” over political expediency, as he claimed Nicola Sturgeon’s party did not share Labour’s deep-rooted commitment to social justice.

With opinion polls showing the SNP poised to make sweeping gains, Mr Brown said Labour was in a historic fight “against the odds” to prevent the losses he warned could allow David Cameron to remain in power.

In a rallying call similar in tone to his speech on the eve of the independence referendum – widely credited with helping to deliver a No vote – Mr Brown said that Scots faced “waking up” to the prospect of Mr Cameron remaining as prime minister if the SNP took all 59 Scottish seats and deprived Labour of enough MPs to form a government.

The former prime minister warned Scots that if they vote SNP they “make it more likely that the Tories are the largest party on Thursday and David Cameron is there on Friday”.

Mr Brown, who is retiring as an MP after 32 years at Westminster, made the emotionally charged plea to Scots who voted Yes in last year’s referendum to “come to Labour” if they want to oust the Tories from power.

He also insisted that policies to end food banks, ban zero-hour contracts and protect the welfare state would be “undeliverable” for the SNP even if the party held all the seats in Scotland, as he said only a Labour government could deliver such reforms.

He said: “Even the SNP admit that the only way we can deliver change is through a Labour government.

“So instead of waking up with 59 MPs and probably a Conservative government, we can have a Labour government that within a few hours and days secures money for food banks and to end food poverty.

“Delivered under a Labour government with Labour MPs. Undeliverable under a Tory government even with 59 SNP MPs.”

In his speech in Glasgow, Mr Brown said Labour could do more for people in minutes than would be achieved if Scotland elected 59 SNP MPs and that came with a five-year period of Conservative rule.

Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly offered to work with Mr Miliband to “lock the Tories out” of power, but Labour has insisted it will not form an alliance with the Nationalists in the event of a hung parliament.

Mr Brown backed Mr Miliband’s stance in ruling out any arrangement with the SNP to prop up a minority Labour government. The party leader last week even stated he would rather not be in Downing Street than do a deal with the Nationalists.

Mr Brown said yesterday: “The reason why we can’t do a deal with SNP is not expediency, it’s on principle. We cannot have a deal, or a compromise, or a tie-in with a party that doesn’t share the principles of solidarity.”

The former PM, who appeared alongside Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran, said he was addressing the audience “not as a candidate but a foot soldier”.

He said: “We can achieve more in a few short minutes with ­Labour ministers and a Labour cabinet than we could ever achieve in five long years under the Conservatives with all the SNP MPs in opposition.”

With tomorrow’s election thought likely to result in a hung parliament, and with speculation mounting about what deals could be done between the parties, Mr Brown said this had been “one of the most difficult elections and one of the most complex elections and one of the most confusing elections people have had”.

But he told voters: “If you want to vote for social justice there is no other party. The Conservative Party don’t support social justice, do they?

“Every vote counts and it has to be a Labour vote. I find it perverse logic for the SNP to say you can have a Labour government without voting for Labour candidates.”

Mr Brown added: “We have a brilliant set of candidates in Scotland.

“You cannot do anything other than vote Labour, because we want to win as many seats as possible – we have written off none.”

And he reached out to those who had voted for independence in September: “I say to people in Scotland today, if you voted Yes in the referendum and you want change, you want social justice, then Labour is your party.

“Come to Labour and join us in Labour in Scotland’s fight for social justice.”