Gordon Brown has urged Scotland to unite in the wake of the independence referendum result, calling on people to dismiss the “myth” of irreconcilable differences to move forward.
The former Prime Minister gave the powerful speech on Saturday morning in Fife, a day after Scotland voted to remain part of the Union by 55 per cent to 45 per cent.
He said: “What people are trying to create is a myth - that there is such a distance between Scottish people and the English - or Scottish people and Welsh ad northern Irish people.
“That the differences are irreconcilable and can never be bridged…
"Don't let us believe there are irreconcilable differences...let us be part of one united family."
Calling the timetable for devolution "absolutely clear", Mr Brown said the main agreements between parties would be completed by St Andrew's Day in November and by Burns Night as the Scotland Act enabling new powers by the end of January.
Mr Brown’s impassioned speech before Thursday’s vote and behind-the-scenes intervention in the Better Together campaign is credited with securing the No vote.
Today he set out more detailed proposals for devolution in a united Scotland, promising to adhere to promises made by the three main parties for vastly increased powers for Holyrood.
He said: "There is a time to fight but there is a time to unite and this is the time for Scotland to unite and see if it can find common purpose and move from the battle ground to the common ground.
“Let us seek to find high ground in trying to find a way forward for the future."
Urging Scots of all opinions to “unify against the odds”, Mr Brown said the world was watching UK leaders in the wake of the referendum.
"These are men who have been promise makers and they will not be promise breakers,” he added.
"I will ensure that as a promise keeper that these promises that have been made will be upheld.
“We will lock in today the promises that have been made and why the timetable we set out will be delivered. Action has already been taken to make sure that happens.”
The biggest victim of the referendum battle was Alex Salmond, who announced hours after the result that he would quit as First Minister and Scottish National Party leader.
Mr Brown praised his opponent for his years of service and said the people of Scotland owed him a debt of gratitude.
The former Prime Minister has been enjoying something of a political renaissance in recent weeks following widespread acclaim for his conduct in the referendum debate.
As our political correspondent James Cusick wrote last week: “Brown’s controlled rage, the dynamism and the power that marked him out a generation ago as the intellectual young Labour firebrand who might go all the way, is now the driving force behind the No camp.
“He is responsible for the late change of tactics that were almost deployed in panic after the first poll two week ago which put the separatists ahead.”
Scottish independence: Referendum results in pictures
Scottish independence: Referendum results in pictures
Chief Counting Officer Mary Pitcaithly on stage at the Highland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre with the final result of the Scottish Independence Referendum
Pro-union supporters celebrate as Scottish independence referendum results come in at a 'Better Together' event in Glasgow
A pro-independence supporter is pictured in George Square in Glasgow, following a defeat in the referendum on Scottish independence
Pro-independence supporters console each other in George Square in Glasgow
A pro-independence supporter is pictured in George Square in Glasgow
A disappointed 'Yes' campaigners reacting to Scotland's decision to stay in the union with a David Cameron mask at George Square in Glasgow
A dejected 'Yes' supporter in Edinburgh makes his way home in the early hours after Scotland voted decisively to reject independence and remain part of the Union
NO supporters celebrate at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh as the final results of the Scottish independence referendum are announced
No supporters celebrate their win over the Yes campaign at the Royal Highland centre during the Scottish referendum in Edinburgh
No supporters for the Scottish independence referendum celebrate a result at a No campaign event at a hotel in Glasgow
Pro-union supporters dance in celebration during a 'Better Together' referendum event in Glasgow
Anti-independence supporters react to an early strong result for the "Better Together" campaign at the Royal Highland Centre counting hall in Edinburgh
NO ballots are stacked on a table during the Scottish independence referendum count at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh
Ballots arrive to be counted at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre during the Scottish referendum in Aberdeen
Ballot boxes arrive at the Highland Hall at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh after polls closed in the Scottish independence referendum
Lord Mandelson, who had a long-running feud with Mr Brown in the Blair years, said he “saved David Cameron’s bacon”, as well as the Labour Party’s.
A timetable is being set out for devolution in Scotland and the Prime Minister also said greater autonomy would be considered for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Draft devolution laws have been promised by January but there is already discontent among some Conservative MPs over what they say is rushed legislation based on pre-referendum promises made without consultation.
Additional reporting by PAReuse content