Gordon Brown: There is a third way for Scotland – within the Union

18th March, 2017 10:06 am

There is a third option for Scotland, with powers returning from Brussels to be repatriated to Holyrood and the Bank of England transformed into a bank for all of the nations, Gordon Brown will say today.

Speaking at the festival of ideas in Kirkcaldy, the former prime minister will urge a Scottish patriotic option within the Union as the best way to secure the country’s jobs, security and defence.

His proposed framework for federal home rule will include returning powers to Holyrood that are currently at Brussels, such as those over agriculture, fisheries, environmental and employment laws. He will put forward a plan that guarantees the right of Scotland to negotiate treaties with other European powers, to stay within the European court of human rights, and to continue in schemes that protect opportunities for young people and higher education such as Erasmus and Horizon.

“The third option means that Scotland is not trapped between the conservatism that would leave Scotland in Britain but not in Europe and the nationalism that would leave Scotland in Europe but not in Britain. Instead the third option would give Scotland the benefits of being in Britain while positively seeking and securing the closest possible ties with Europe,” he will say.

He calls for the Bank of England to become the bank of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a full staff in Scotland, as well as setting VAT rates to come to Holyrood.

Brown is expected to say: “With these proposed new powers let us send a message today – and I will fight for this in the weeks and months ahead – that from now on the debate on the future of Scotland will no longer be limited to two options.

“The third option, a patriotic Scottish way and free from the absolutism of the SNP and the do-nothing-ism of the Tories is now essential because post- Brexit realities makes the status quo redundant and require us to break with the past.”

“The very extremism of conservatism and nationalism make the case for the third option – a patriotic Scottish way.”

In reference to the Scottish Labour leader’s push for a constitutional convention and adoption of federalism as Scottish Labour’s official policy, he will say: “And a new Scottish patriotic way is possible because of Kezia Dugdale‘s decision that Scottish Labour embrace a federal approach to Scotland’s future in the UK Union.”

Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader, said: “Gordon and I have been working closely together as Labour puts forward an alternative to the constitutional extremes offered by the SNP and the Tories.”

“Last month, I was delighted to secure the support of party conference for our vision of a federal UK.”

“Our call for a reformed UK is about meeting the demand for change. One message from the independence and EU referendums was that people wanted more control over their lives. That’s why Labour’s plan for a People’s Constitutional Convention and a federal UK will transform where political and economic power will lie in our country.”

“We know that together we are stronger when the nations of our United Kingdom work together rather than split apart.”

“Scottish Labour will vote against a second referendum next week and the Labour Party I lead will never support leaving the UK.”

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