I back Scotland leading UK, not leaving it ...

Gordon Brown MP
Gordon Brown MP

A new book and a string of high profile meetings and speeches have put Gordon Brown at the forefront of the referendum debate as he unveils a new ten-point plan for Scotland to play a leading role within a very different union

Gordon Brown has unveiled a ten-point plan which sets out his vision of Scotland as a leading part of a very different looking union after a no vote on September 18.

The Kirkcaldy MP’s growing frontline role in the debate leading up to this autumn’s historic vote was outlined at his recent speech in Lochgelly ahead of the launch of his new book, ‘‘My Scotland, Our Britain’’ and a keynote speech at Borders Book Festival in Melrose.

Mr Brown also shared a platform with Baroness Shirley Williams, former Labour Cabinet minister and co-founder of the SDP, in St Andrews last Thursday, and returns on July 8 with impressionist Rory Bremner in Dunfermline.

The events form part of his Scottish tour campaigning in support of the union - and the launch of his book put him back at the forefront of the debate.

Mr Brown’s ten-point plan gives the Scottish Parliament significantly more powers in a UK which see devolution extended to the regions including London, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He said it was ‘‘not a political manifesto’’ but an ‘‘appeal from the heart’’ and one which warns of the ‘‘increasingly poisonous schism’’ between the yes and no camps which he fears ‘‘may be difficult to reverse regardless of the outcome.’’

He also echoed the final words of the late Margo McDonald MSP to heed the dangers of division.

His ten-point plan is wide-ranging, but starts by making the Scottish Parliament enshrined in law as ‘‘permanent and irreversible’’.

And he wants it to have more powers over employment and training, land reform, taxation, health, and to ‘‘ensure fairness and avoid Scotland suffering a new Poll Tax or Bedroom Tax.’’

Mr Brown also wants to make political, economic and social equality between home nations ‘‘a guiding mission of the union’’ and wants both parliaments to accept an obligation to work in the common interest, while the ’’anachronistic’’ House of Lords would be replaced with a UK senate.

He said: ‘‘When it comes to the levers of power most are already in our hands.’’

And he added: ‘’The choice is not between being Scottish or British - we are both and continue to be so.

‘‘Scotland’s greatness need not be asserted by standing apart, but by having Scottish ideas shaping Britain’s future and that of our interdependent world. I vote for Scotland leading Britain - not leaving it.’