Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown will today emerge from semi-retirement and outline a new vision of the British constitution if Scotland votes against independence in September. He is said to want to play a major role in the remainder of the referendum campaign and intends to speak across the UK.
The Telegraph reports that Brown will use a speech in Glasgow to outline “six constitutional changes” to the UK, including a new constitutional law, and a document equivalent to a “bill of rights” to guarantee the continued existence of the Scottish Parliament.
He will also call for further powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament and for the Union to be turned into a “power sharing” agreement.
The Scottish Parliament would gain more powers over health, employment, transport and economics. Other policy areas would have “power-sharing partnerships”, such as poverty, unemployment, housing and the environment.
The Telegraph says that Mr Brown will likely say: “The majority of Scottish people do not want separation but equally they do want change, not the status quo. It is now six months from the referendum and time to enact that change.
“If people are asked to support the Union it is crucial that people know what the purpose is and it is no longer left unstated and unexplained.
“We need to draw up a statement of purpose, that we pool and share resources and risks for the benefit of all. A new constitutional settlement should reflect a modern purpose, meaning and aspiration for the United Kingdom.”
These plans are likely to cause further resentment in England, where Scotland is perceived as already having a disproportionate amount of power within the Union. Scottish MPs are able to vote in the House of Commons on laws that apply only to England and Wales, while English and Welsh MPs cannot vote on Scottish affairs.
There is also anger that Scotland receives a large amount of taxpayer money from England to fund its services.
Gordon Brown’s plans will also likely increase calls for a devolved English Parliament with equivalent powers to the Scottish Parliament in order to redress the balance of power within the Union.