Brown hints at return to frontline politics in Scotland

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GORDON BROWN has suggested he is ready to return to frontline politics in Scotland to take on Alex Salmond.

The former Prime Minister was rallying support for the ‘no’ campaign with a speech in Kirkcaldy.

He said: “I say this to Mr Salmond himself – until today I’m outside front-line politics – if he continues to peddle this deception that the Scottish Parliament under his leadership 
cannot do anything to improve the health service until he has a separate state, then I will want to join (Scottish Labour leader) Johann Lamont in fighting him in securing the return of a Labour government as quickly as possible.”

Mr Brown was joined on the campaign trail in Scotland by a string of leading Yorkshire MPs including William Hague, Ed Miliband, Caroline Flint and Yvette Cooper.

Mr Hague, the Richmond MP, suggested a vote for independence would damage the reputation of both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The former Foreign Secretary said: “Our enemies, those who spread terror in the world, who attack our citizens and despise our common values, would be satisfied if this happens.

“Our friends and allies would be dismayed – their voices would be heard from Sweden to China, the USA to Australia, from Canada to the Vatican.

“They know that the United Kingdom is a force for good, a valued partner, a stable friend.”

Mr Miliband, the Labour leader, spoke at a rally in the shadow of a statue of the late Donald Dewar, the Labour politician who played a key role in the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and was the country’s inaugural First Minister.

Challenging suggestions from Alex Salmond that the NHS in Scotland could be at risk without independence, he said: “Because of the devolution that Donald Dewar made possible, the NHS in Scotland is run in Scotland.

“So don’t believe the lies and scaremongering of the SNP. There is only one person that can privatise the NHS and that’s Alex Salmond.”

It was revealed yesterday that almost 4.3 million people are registered to vote in the Scottish independence referendum, making it the largest electorate ever for a ballot in Scotland.

The 4,285,323 voters include 789,024 people who have applied for a postal vote, which is also the largest volume of registration for postal votes ever in Scotland.