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Brown vows to fight UK break up!

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Gordon Brown has pledged to do "whatever is necessary" to preserve the United Kingdom in the face of demands for Scottish independence.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, the prime minister urged pro-Union parties, businesses and trade unions to fight to prevent the break up of the UK.

His remarks come after Scottish Labour leader Wendy Alexander called for an early referendum on independence.

She claims she was calling the SNP's bluff, but they ridiculed the move.

In the newspaper interview, Mr Brown publicly backed Ms Alexander, describing her as an "excellent leader" of Labour in Scotland.

However, he went on to stress he was personally "not persuaded" of the case for a poll.

He said: "I will do anything and everything to ensure that the case for the Union, which has served Britain and the British people so well, is properly heard and advanced.

"I want all unionist parties and all parts of business - employers, managers and trade unions - to work together not only to push the case for the Union but to expose the dangers of separation.

"Some issues are bigger than politics and need to be addressed in the common interest."

Last week, Ms Alexander threw Labour into turmoil in both Scotland and England with her unexpected call for an immediate referendum, having previously said that a poll on independence was unnecessary.

She later said Labour might introduce its own referendum bill in the Scottish Parliament if the SNP would not - apparently contradicting her earlier opposition to a vote.

The prime minister failed to explicitly support her when taunted in the Commons about the row by Tory leader David Cameron.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander, one of Gordon Brown's closest allies and Ms Alexander's brother, told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme he does not believe now is the right time for a vote.

"I'm not convinced that now is the time for a referendum," he said.

"But I recognise, as Gordon Brown said in an interview this morning, that those of us who believe profoundly in the United Kingdom have to contemplate what steps are necessary to secure the UK against those who want to break it up.

"The SNP were elected under a manifesto of having a referendum but they've made very clear in their response to what Wendy's said this week that they have no intention of bringing forward a referendum until they've fermented more grudge and grievance."

Wendy Alexander has now said that as a minority party in the Scottish Parliament, Labour cannot force an early referendum on its own.

'Indefensible actions'

"The SNP can never again claim that a Unionist cabal is denying Scotland a voice," she claimed.

"The SNP party colour is yellow and now we know why.

"Alex Salmond's supposed timetable for a referendum in late 2010 merely serves his own narrow political and electoral interests, rather than the interests of the Scottish people."

Mr Salmond ridiculed Ms Alexander's "complete and utter humiliation" and said Mr Brown had demonstrated "a supreme inability to either control events or even keep up with them".

Mr Salmond also stressed that Labour had now conceded the principle of a referendum.

And Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie observed: "Wendy Alexander tries to defend her indefensible actions of the last seven days by rewriting history, stretching credibility and taking the public for fools."



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Mmm.. interesting stuff. I wonder just how much momentum is behind the vote for independence in Scotland? There is a great passion and patriotism in Scotland but the Scots would have some job of disentangling themselves from the UK economy and going it alone. Maybe if they played Braveheart the night before the vote, things would be different :)

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Im Scottish and very proud to say so - but I'm also British and equally proud of that. I'd hate to see the break up of the UK - I'd think about leaving Scotland if it were to happen (if I could still get any kind of visa post independence that is) - that's how strongly I feel about it.

Loads of Scottish people live and work in England and vice - versa - we are the same country in so many ways and to break it up would be unthinkable.

There are loads of things that bother me about an independent Scotland: I don't want to need a passport to travel to London; I don't want my Scottish friend who works for the foreign office to lose his job; What currency would we use?; How would we defend ourselves?; How big a say would we have in world/European affairs? Would we still get the BBC for free?; How would we maintain the current high levels of public expenditure with a smaller number of people?; Wouldn't the income from oil reserves eventually dry up?

I'm totally unconvinced by romantic Braveheart arguments for Independence. I get so mad when I see Sean Connery supporting the SNP - does he even live in Scotland? Would an independent Scotland have any impact on his life at all? NO - so he should keep his mouth closed!

Sorry off on a rant.....

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