Gordon Brown has a third "patriotic" option in the debate over a second Scottish independence referendum

 
Rebecca Smith
Brown thinks the Bank of England should become the Bank of England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland too
Brown thinks the Bank of England should become the Bank of England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland too (Source: Getty)

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has an alternative to full-blown independence from the UK, as the debate over a second Scottish referendum ramps up.

During a speech in Fife, Brown suggested giving Holyrood vast new powers, including the responsibility of signing treaties with other European and setting VAT - as long as it stays in the UK.

Read more: Brown: Brexit vote could turn the North into "wastelands"

He deemed the third option "a patriotic Scottish way and free from the absolutism of the SNP and the do-nothing-ism of the Tories" and essential, as post-Brexit realities "make the status quo redundant and require us to break with the past".

Brown spoke at the Festival of Ideas where he also called for the repatriation to Scotland of £800m spent by the EU.

His alternative comes as first minister Nicola Sturgeon increases pressure on Theresa May for a second independence referendum, having said a fresh vote was crucial given June's Brexit vote.

The Scottish National Party leader said the "material change of circumstances" brought about by the Brexit vote justified the repeat of the 2014 referendum, adding "if the Scottish parliament gives me that authority then that should be respected by the UK government."

"The Scottish government's mandate for offering this choice is beyond doubt," Sturgeon said earlier this week in Edinburgh.

In his speech Brown also suggested that the Bank of England change to the Bank of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with fully staffed representation in Scotland to emphasise "the fact that the pound is for everyone".

Read more: May 2, Sturgeon nil: The SNP has no case for a second referendum

Brown's compromise, will, he believes, deliver an outcome that suits everyone.

"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," Brown said.

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