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Promises will be upheld says Brown

Promises made to Scotland on further devolution will be upheld, Gordon Brown insisted, as he urged the country to come together after the bitter independence debate and find "unity against the odds".

The former prime minister, who has spearheaded an accelerated timetable for Holyrood to get more powers, said he would ensure the commitment given by the leaders of the three main Westminster parties is adhered to.

Nationalists have already raised concerns that the schedule Mr Brown set out for further devolution will not be met.

But speaking just two days after the referendum, in which 45% of Scots voted for independence, with 55% wanting to remain in the UK, Mr Brown said: "The promises that were made last week about change, about the delivery of further devolution, must be, and I believe, and will ensure, will be delivered."

After David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg all made a public vow on this, Mr Brown added: "The eyes of the world have been upon us and now I think the eyes of the world are upon the leaders of the major parties of the United Kingdom.

"These are men who had been promise makers, and they will not be promise breakers, and I will ensure that that these promises that have been made are upheld."

Mr Brown, the MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said a resolution had been issued which would be placed in the House of Commons on Monday, which had been signed by him, the Prime Minister, Mr Miliband and Mr Clegg.

This calls on the Government to lay down a command paper taking in the devolution proposals from the three different parties by the end of next month, and for draft clauses of a new Scotland Bill to be ready by the end of January.

Mr Brown told an audience at Dalgety Bay Primary School in Fife: "I can ensure to you that this promise that people were doubting on the airwaves and on the Twittersphere last night, the civil service are already working on the proposals.

"Decision day was Thursday, delivery day started on Friday. They are working on the timetable but also on the detailed plans so that the publication will indeed be the end of October."

He added: "To ensure that they are locked in and ensure that there is proper scrutiny, so everybody knows this deadline will be adhered to, I have called, with the permission of the Speaker of the House of Commons, a debate in the House of Commons which will take place in the first week back at Westminster on Thursday October 16.

"In that debate I will want to ensure that the instructions to deliver have become a plan to deliver and not just a timetable to deliver but a certainty that we will deliver."

He insisted: "I am utterly convinced that whatever else happens, I am absolutely sure that unconditionally the timetable that I set out, that will be delivered."

Mr Brown played a key role in the campaign for a No vote in the referendum, but today he insisted he was not planning a comeback to frontline politics.

"I'm too old to be the comeback kid," he said.

He said the referendum campaign had been the "longest campaign we have seen in modern history" adding there were "the fiercest of arguments, at points some of the most divisive issues were raised".

He stressed it was time for Scotland to come together after Thursday's historic vote

Mr Brown said: "There is a time to fight but there is time to unite, and this is the time for Scotland to unite and see if it can find common purpose and move from the battleground to the common ground.

"And let us seek to find the high ground in trying to find a way forward for the future"

He added that after "all the acrimony, after much which I think is distasteful, the abuse, insults, intimidation and threats" it was now time to find "unity against the odds".

The Labour MP said he hoped in the coming weeks the nation could now "build a new constitution for Scotland within what is now a new union".

Urging the two opposing camps to come together, he said: "I would make a plea this morning, that the Yes and No posters, let's throw them away. That the Yes and No stickers, let's cast them aside and consign them to the history books.

"And let us think of ourselves no more as pro- independence and anti-independence, let us think of ourselves no more as simply patriots or nationalists, let us think of ourselves not as Yes Scots or No Scots, let us think of ourselves all of us simply as Scots, and united, let us be a nation again."

He said the new powers coming to Scotland would mean that in the future there "could be no bedroom tax imposed on Scotland ever again, there could be no poll tax imposed on Scotland again".

While he said there was now a "deep desire" for change, he added: "The change that is going to happen in my view can meet the needs and aspirations of the vast majority of the Scottish people."

He said this, together with previous legislation, would mean Holyrood has "powers over health, over housing, over transport" along with "powers over the environment and land use, powers over jobs, the economy and job creation".

Mr Brown also stressed the need for the governments in Edinburgh and London to work together, not just on devolution, but on the major issues facing Scotland.

"There is no way forward other than cooperation between the Scottish and UK Government to deal with the problems of jobs, young people's skills, opportunities for the future and economic change," he said.

"Instead of this stand-off, instead of them talking to themselves but not each other, instead of this war of attrition between a Scottish Government and a UK Government, let them both get together, let them address the economic challenges of Scotland together."

He went on: "I hope we can move beyond the old, that we can start a new chapter now.

"I hope the government of Scotland and the government of the United Kingdom will come together, not just to deliver the devolution we have been promised but to deal with basic social and economic challenges that we can only address if we do them together and not apart."

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