Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has warned that the UK is on "life support" because the government has given up on saving the union.
He claimed that the Conservatives' positioning as "the English Nationalist party" threatened the union, which has lasted 308 years.
His intervention comes as the Tories bring forward plans to limit Scottish MPs' power at Westminster, with the so-called "English votes for English laws" reform. He dubbed such tactics "insidious", and said they threaten to divide England and Scotland.
Writing in the Guardian, Brown said:
If the United Kingdom collapses, it will not be because a majority of Scots are hell-bent on leaving but because the UK government is giving up on saving it.
No union can survive without unionists and, after an election in which, to head off Ukip, the Conservative and Unionist party presented itself as the English Nationalist party, it is clear that the union is on life support … It is London’s equivocation over Scotland that is becoming the greater risk to the UK.
He accused both the Tories and the SNP of creating a "sectarian war of words", both pushing for English and Scottish vetoes. Such language, he warned, promotes the idea that there are "irreconcilable differences between the two nations".
The former Prime Minister added:
Sadly, this tactic – to divide and rule and put party before country rather than to unite – is one that the Conservatives can return to again and again.
It reveals a bigger truth: that while Scotland has not yet written off Britain, the Conservatives are starting to write off Scotland.