Gordon Brown to offer ‘THIRD OPTION’ for Scots in face of Sturgeon’s calls for referendum

  18 March 2017    Read: 507
Gordon Brown to offer ‘THIRD OPTION’ for Scots in face of Sturgeon’s calls for referendum

GORDON Brown will attempt to counter Nicola Sturgeon’s ceaseless calls for a second independence referendum by proposing a “third option” of vast new powers for Scotland after Brexit.

The former Prime Minister will use a speech in Fife to suggest giving Holyrood the power to sign treaties with EU member states and set VAT.

He will also propose devolving EU powers from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the regions.

Brown will 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 make the status quo redundant and require us to break with the past.

“The status quo has been overtaken by events, because unless powers now with the European Union are repatriated from Brussels to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly and the regions, Whitehall will have perpetrated one of the biggest power grabs by further centralising power."

The former PM will propose new powers for Scotland after Brexit to argue against independence
He will add: "The third option would give Scotland the benefits of being in Britain while positively seeking and securing the closest possible ties with Europe."

Brown’s proposals would give Scots control of the £800million they currently contribute to the EU after Brexit.

The former PM also wants the Bank of England to hire staff representing all parts of the UK – becoming the Bank of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But the First Minister is unlikely to be impressed by Brown’s proposals, and will warn Theresa May that rejecting a second independence referendum will “shatter beyond repair” the notion of the UK as a partnership of equals.

MSPs are expected to back a second referendum on Wednesday.

Sturgeon announced this week that she would seek a referendum on Scottish independence between autumn 2018 and spring 2019.

But the First Minister is expected to tell party members in Aberdeen that she is “happy within reason” to discuss the timing.

She will add: "If a majority in the Scottish Parliament endorses that position, the Prime Minister should be clear about this.

"At that point a fair, legal, agreed referendum - on a timescale that will allow the people of Scotland an informed choice - ceases to be just my proposal, or that of the SNP. It becomes the will of the democratically elected Parliament of Scotland."


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