Author- GINA DAVIDSON
Gordon Brown has condemned David Cameron and his government for the loss of the EU referendum, claiming they were “lazy”.
The former Labour Prime Minister blasted his Tory successor in Downing Street, saying Mr Cameron had failed to deal with the fears of English voters around sovereignty and immigration in the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum,
In an excoriating speech at the Edinburgh International Book Festival today, Mr Brown claimed Scotland was now “trapped” between competing English and Scottish nationalisms.
Laying out how he believed a no-deal Brexit could be stopped, he said that he did not believe English voters who chose Leave on the ballot paper were “British or English nationalists”, but that “Nigel Farage was” and Boris Johnson “comes close to that position and a lot of the Conservative backswoodmen are taking that position and that is the ideology dominating the British political system.”
He added: “Voters in the north who felt neglected, not listened to, who wanted a change and they saw Brexit as a means for that and I’m trying to understand what lay behind it.
“David Cameron, let’s be honest, could have negotiated a far better deal with the EU that could have dealt with people’s fears about immigration and sovereignty.
“Look, in Germany you can’t be an immigrant into Germany unless you’re registered for work, you can’t stay in Belgium after nine months if you haven’t got a job, in France you can’t be paid Latvian wages if you’re a Latvian working in France.
“He could have done all those things, he could have dealt with some of the concerns people had about wages and everything else, he could have dealt with sovereignty question, he could have had a law passed in Parliament that said any ruling of the European Court that offended the principles of the Treaty of Maastricht, which required national identity to be taken into account, would not be accepted in the British isles if it offended these principles.”
To resounding applause, Mr Brown he added: “He could have done all these things, but they were lazy, they thought they would win it without a fight – they didn’t even put the right arguments, they didn’t put a positive case for Europe and that’s why we’re in this position.”
Mr Brown’s appearance at the book festival marked the latest in a series of interventions by the former Labour Prime Minister on Brexit and Scottish independence.
In the past week he has weighed in on the “self-indulgent” prospect of a government of national unity led by Jeremy Corbyn, calling it a “waste of time”, and urged opposition party leaders to speak to Brussels direct to shift the Brexit deadline of 31 October.