Independence: Brown in ‘United With Labour’ speech

Gordon Brown: Setting out 'a distinct Labour voice'. Picture: Getty
Gordon Brown: Setting out 'a distinct Labour voice'. Picture: Getty
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GORDON Brown will today make a major intervention in the campaign against independence, when he delivers a keynote speech at a flagship Labour event in Glasgow.


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Independence: Brown urges Scots not to give up on UK

The former prime minister will speak at the formal launch of “United With Labour” – the group for party supporters campaigning for a No vote.

United With Labour co-ordinator Anas Sarwar said Mr Brown would set out “a distinct Labour voice” aimed at persuading supporters to vote No in the 2014 referendum.

Mr Brown, who remains MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, has made only a handful of public speeches since leaving Downing Street in 2010.

He is expected to focus today on his claim that the best chance of defeating the Conservatives at the next general election is for Scotland to remain part of the UK.

Mr Brown will state that policies on social justice for Scotland can best be achieved by staying within the Union, with a strong Labour presence at Westminster.

The former premier will also warn that a vote for independence would mean the rest of the UK was dominated by the Conservatives, with a weaker Labour and trade union movement both north and south of the Border.

Mr Brown’s intervention comes amid suggestions that Labour voters have been identified as being more likely to support a Yes vote than Lib Dem or Tory backers, despite overall backing for independence falling to 31 per cent.

Mr Sarwar, the deputy Scottish Labour leader, said the United With Labour campaign would focus on how Scotland could “share our talents and pool our resources with others” in the UK.

Mr Sarwar said: “United With Labour will complement the work of Better Together but, crucially, provide a distinct Labour voice in the campaign. Just as we recognise that Better Together have a job to do, we also recognise their job comes to an end after polling day. Labour’s job goes on.

“In the debate over the coming months, there will be a number of voices all making the case for Scotland working together as part of the United Kingdom. But one voice that must be heard is the Labour voice – and I am determined that in this campaign it will be heard.

“That is why I am delighted Gordon Brown is speaking today at the launch of United With Labour.

“This is a choice between two futures. One in which we choose to share our talents and pool our resources with others.

“A future where we unite behind common causes. A future where we work every day to dismantle barriers to opportunity and success. A future where in the country we are proud to call home, we stand by and work for a set of values. A future where we achieve more together than we ever could alone.”

Mr Brown is not likely to take up a formal role in United With Labour, although his speech represents his most forceful intervention in Scottish politics since 2010.

First Minister Alex Salmond last night attacked Mr Brown’s claims as “nonsense”, as he accused Labour politicians of being “joined at the hip” with the Tories.

Mr Salmond said: “Mr Brown used to argue against independence because of the social union with the rest of the UK – but the social union stays with independence.

“He is now arguing against independence on the basis of the political union – but it is this political union that has clearly failed Scotland on any measure, and needs to be replaced with a new relationship of equality between the nations of these islands.”