Promises Will Be Upheld Says Brown

20 September 2014, 20:41

Promises made to Scotland on further devolution will be upheld, Gordon Brown insisted, as he urged the country to come together after the bitter independence debate and find 'unity against the odds'.

Nationalists have already raised concerns that the schedule Mr Brown set out for further devolution will not be met.

But speaking just two days after the referendum,  Mr Brown said: "The promises that were made last week about change, about the delivery of further devolution, must be, and I believe, and will ensure, will be delivered.

"The eyes of the world have been upon us and now I think the eyes of the world are upon the leaders of the major parties of the United Kingdom."

Mr Brown, the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said a resolution had been issued which would be placed in the House of Commons on Monday, which had been signed by him, the Prime Minister, Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg.

This calls on the Government to lay down a command paper taking in the devolution proposals from the three different parties by the end of next month, and for draft clauses of a new Scotland Bill to be ready by the end of January.

Mr Brown told an audience at Dalgety Bay Primary School in Fife: "I can ensure to you that this promise that people were doubting on the airwaves and on the Twittersphere last night, the civil service are already working on the proposals.

"Decision day was Thursday, delivery day started on Friday. They are working on the timetable but also on the detailed plans so that the publication will indeed be the end of October."

Mr Brown played a key role in the campaign for a No vote in the referendum, but today he insisted he was not planning a comeback to frontline politics.

"I'm too old to be the comeback kid,'' he said.

He said the referendum campaign had been the "longest campaign we have seen in modern history" adding there were "the fiercest of arguments, at points some of the most divisive issues were raised".

He stressed it was time for Scotland to come together after Thursday's historic vote.

Mr Brown said: "There is a time to fight but there is time to unite, and this is the time for Scotland to unite and see if it can find common purpose and move from the battleground to the common ground.

"And let us seek to find the high ground in trying to find a way forward for the future'".

He said the new powers coming to Scotland would mean that in the future there "could be no bedroom tax imposed on Scotland ever again, there could be no poll tax imposed on Scotland again".

While he said there was now a "deep desire" for change, he added: "The change that is going to happen in my view can meet the needs and aspirations of the vast majority of the Scottish people."

He said this, together with previous legislation, would mean Holyrood has "powers over health, over housing, over transport" along with "powers over the environment and land use, powers over jobs, the economy and job creation".

First Minister Alex Salmond said the No camp had already started to "tear up the commitments".

Speaking from his home town in Aberdeenshire, Mr Salmond said: "I suppose I feel sorry for those in the No side who were tricked by Westminster.

"The vow that was given to Scotland obviously persuaded some people to vote No at the last minute, and now within 24 hours of the polls closing they start to tear up the commitments."

Alistair Darling, who led the No campaign, said any of the leaders who rowed back on the devolution timetable would "pay a heavy price".

The former chancellor said: "The agreement reached by the three parties, as far as I'm concerned, is non-negotiable".