Brown to call for ‘greater’ Scottish devolution

Former prime ministerGordon Brown is to call for the delivery of a greater power-sharing partnership of nations in the UK, as an alternative to Scottish independence.

During his ‘Union for Fairness’ speechin Glasgow today, the ex-PM is expected to call for a strengthening of the Scottish government with enhanced powers, including more freedom over tax-raising.

As part of his proposals for greater devolution fromWestminster to Holyrood, Brown has set out ideas for several changes to the current system. For example, he would like to see the development of a new constitutional law to set out the purpose of the UK for pooling and sharing resources for the defence, security and well-being of the citizens of all four nations.

He also proposes to create power-sharing partnerships to address shared problems on poverty, unemployment, housing need and the environment.

Brown, the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, is expected to say: “I want to move us from the old highly-centralised, uniform Britain dominated by out-of-date ideas of an undivided Westminster sovereignty to a new diverse power-sharing, risk-sharing, resource-sharing UK which is best defined not as an old union but as a modern, constitutional partnership of nations.”

He has previously called for legislation to make the Scottish Parliament a permanent and irreversible part of how Britain is governed, and proposed a written constitution to highlight the importance of pooling resources across the UK.

He added that he was entering the nationwide debate on Scotland's future “because a moment cannot now be lost in detailing the positive case for a strong Scottish parliament in a strong Britain”.

Senior Lib Dem MP Sir Menzies Campbell said the majority of people in Scotland favoured enhanced devolution.He has chaired a party commission which outlined plans to devolve new tax powers, on the way to a federal UK.

“Our approach is federalism, a system of government used across the world which allows for the expression of different identities within one system, but combines with it the additional influence and strength which comes from co-operation and common purpose,” said the former Lib Dem leader.

“We argue for a distribution of powers among the nations of the United Kingdom, for joint action where that is necessary and effective, and for parliaments and assemblies across the United Kingdom to have substantial democratic choice and opportunity combined with the responsibility that comes from significant financial powers.”

(Image shows Brown addressing a United With Labour event at The Pearce Institute in Glasgow in September 2013. Danny Lawson/PA Wire)

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