“We are stronger together” – PM defends union

Gordon Brown has today written in defence of the union, arguing “secessionist forces” are loudly at work to undermine it.

Writing in the Telegraph, the prime minister said: “We must be resolute in defending the union and argue against those who put it at risk.”

Mr Brown argued the union is a force for good but has been taken for granted for too long.

He described the historic relationship between British nations as the world’s most successful multinational state.

Arguing for the continued need for a union, which has been subject to increased criticism by the nationalist-led government in Scotland, Mr Brown said there could be no “England-only” or “Scotland-only” answer to challenges such as terrorism and climate change.

In its first term, New Labour oversaw devolution, which many argued would be a precursor to the break-up of the union.

Mr Brown argued, however, that allowing the different nations more control of their own affairs celebrated their separate identities.

But people should also focus on the common values shared across the union, Mr Brown said, including liberty, fairness, tolerance, enterprise, civic initiative and internationalism.

“The fact is, the union is more like a covenant founded on shared values that have created bonds of belonging that make us all feel part of a wider Britain,” the prime minister wrote.

“Out of these bonds of belonging we have created not just the rights and responsibilities of a political citizenship but also of a social and economic citizenship too.”

He continued: “We know also that we are stronger together because again and again each part of our country has benefited from innovations with origins in only one: the NHS founded by a Welshman; universal education with many of its earliest roots in Scotland; and universal suffrage championed by radicals in England.”

Meanwhile, MSPs are set to vote on the next stage of devolution, to extend powers to Holyrood over the next decade.