Exclusive: Gordon Brown will come out fighting for No vote on Scottish independence

Strategists believe that Fife, which is Mr Brown’s political powerbase, is one of the two areas that could hold the key to the outcome of the referendum

deputy political editor

Gordon Brown is to take a high-profile role in the campaign against Scottish independence amid signs of growing support for a Yes vote in September’s referendum.

The former Prime Minister is a fierce opponent of separation but has so far played little part in attempts to rally wavering voters behind the Union.

His reticence has been blamed on tensions with the former Chancellor Alistair Darling, the head of the Better Together campaign.

Mr Brown broke cover last month to warn that independence would threaten the value of Scots pensions, but is now planning to follow that with a series of appearances to set out the case for a No vote.

He is planning to appear on Labour Party and Better Together platforms ahead of the referendum on 18 September. Anti-independence campaigners hope his involvement will sway significant numbers of voters who say they are still undecided – around one-third of the Scottish electorate.

“You don’t necessarily play your star striker right from the beginning,” said one source. “Gordon is hugely respected in Scotland and his comments carry a lot of weight. You will now be seeing a lot of him.”

Strategists believe that Fife, which is Mr Brown’s political powerbase, is one of the two areas that could hold the key to the outcome of the referendum.

The other is Glasgow, where large numbers of working-class, traditionally Labour-loyal, voters are known to be undecided. Supporters of independence have argued that the best way to live under Labour is for Scotland to break away from the UK.

The Better Together camp has been hit by jitters over the apparent narrowing of their lead, but insists that Scottish Nationalist claims of a dramatic shift in opinion have been over-stated.

One Labour source said: “The problem has been getting the three pro-Union parties working together. The Tories are dead in Scotland, the Liberal Democrats are dying and Labour has been asleep.”

The former Prime Minister has barely intervened in UK politics since Labour’s heavy election defeat in 2010.

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