Scotland is facing 50 years of constitutional conflict unless it can break free from the “Punch and Judy Show” between the SNP and Conservatives, Gordon Brown will warn.
In a campaign rally in Glasgow ahead of the European elections, the former prime minister will accuse both parties of taking “ever-more hard-line policy stances” on Scottish independence and devolution, while “neglecting” pressing issues such as the economy and the NHS.
The former Labour leader will join the head of Scottish Labour, Richard Leonard, and the party’s European candidates at the architecture and design centre the Lighthouse to urge voters to back Labour.
He is expected to say: “I fear for the future of Scotland unless it can break free from this non-stop, never-ending, constitution-obsessed SNP/Conservative Punch and Judy show.
“Both parties bang on day after day about independence, continuously ratcheting up the decibel levels with their ever-more hard-line policy stances – the SNP for all-out independence, nothing less, that now has become even more extreme with their plans to abandon the British pound and exit the UK customs union and single market – which would not now count as a soft independence, but a hard independence.
“Meanwhile, the Conservatives increasingly reveal their hand as hostile to devolution – and because in Scotland they can’t talk about Europe or about their policy for austerity they talk about nothing else than the constitutional issues.
“Essentially, we have two parties dug-in for a trench warfare that suits both of them because they have nothing positive to offer on any other issues.
“In fact the two parties’ total neglect of the issues that really do affect people – our NHS, our schools, our law and order and our economy – can only have disastrous long-term consequences for the Scottish economy and for Scotland’s public services.”
One of the SNP’s European candidates, Christian Allard, urged Mr Brown to “apologise to Scotland” and called for voters to back the SNP, claiming Labour are “all over the place on Brexit”.
He said: “People in Scotland remember Gordon Brown as playing a key role in the campaign to ensure that we would continue having to live under Tory governments we didn’t vote for – and now that Tory Government is trying to drag Scotland out of the EU against our will.
“So if he wants people to even consider listening to Labour on anything, Mr Brown should start by apologising to Scotland for the mess he has helped create.
“While Labour are all over the place on Brexit, a vote for the SNP is a vote to stop Brexit.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said: “All Gordon Brown is doing is highlighting how much of an irrelevance Labour have been, and continue to be, in Scotland.
“Perhaps if they hadn’t been so spectacularly out of tune with the people of Scotland for so long, this kind of intervention wouldn’t be required.”