Gordon Brown’s new plot to save Union could actually hand power to Nicola Sturgeon

Jacob Rees-Mogg mocks SNP’s independence demands

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A devo-max option would see Scotland gain full economic independence from the rest of the UK, but would still be subject to governance by the British Parliament in areas such as defence and foreign policy. But Spectator columnist, Stephen Daisley, warned Gordon Brown would be “doing more to deliver Scottish independence than the SNP” because the devo-max option would hand the nationalists “yet anther tranche of powers”.

He wrote: “Only defence and foreign policy would remain in the hands of Westminster: everything else would be at the whim of Nicola Sturgeon.

“The theory is that by increasing the powers of Holyrood, the Scots’ appetite for independence will be sated. But is no evidence for this, and 23 years of evidence against it.

“From the opening of the Scottish parliament in 1999, it took just eight years for the SNP to gain control of the institution and its grip has remained iron tight ever since.”

Scottish First Minister Ms Sturgeon has stepped up her plans for Scottish independence since Britain’s historic Brexit vote despite Mr Johnson making it clear there will be no second vote after the 2014 vote stressing no Section 30 referendum order would be granted.

But Mr Daisley said the plan would see both Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer and Prime Minister “damaging the Union all by themselves”, and added: “therefore, a plea: please, for the love of God and the wee man in the moon, stop listening to Gordon Brown”.

He said Mr Brown, who played a key part in the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK in the run-up to the 2014 independence referendum, plan would see the UK “reduced to nothing more than shared custody of some embassies and the odd Eurofighter”.

Mr Daisley added: “Brown is an implacable meddler, but more than that he is serially wrong. “The more his policies are shown to be an abject failure, the more extravagantly he doubles down on them.

“What he proposes is that the UK be reduced to nothing more than shared custody of some embassies and the odd Eurofighter.

“It should hardly have to be pointed out what a bad move ‘devo max’ would be.”

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Last year Mr Brown launched a new Union campaign in a bid to prevent Ms Sturgeon from achieving Scottish independence.

The ScotlandCan initiative made the case that Scotland can prosper and thrive without breaking away from the UK.

The campaign was launched through Brown’s Our Scottish Future think-tank and aimed to create a forum to argue the positive case of devolution and remaining part of the Union.

It comes as Ms Sturgeon vowed she intended “to do everything that’s within my power” to hold a second vote on the future of Scotland’s place within the UK before the end of next year.

Speaking on STV’s Scotland Tonight, the First Minister said the date legislation would be introduced to enable Scotland to hold the independence referendum would be announced “when we’ve taken the detailed decisions”, and told the broadcaster that there were “opportunities that come with Scotland being independent”.

She said: ”I intend to do everything that is within my power to enable that referendum to happen before the end of 2023, and we will set out exactly what that means in terms of the date of the introduction of legislation when we’ve taken the detailed decisions around that,” said the First Minister.

“What I think is much more exciting as we come out, I hope, of the pandemic, and certainly the acute phase of the pandemic, are the opportunities that come with Scotland being independent.”

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