HOLYROOD has “failed to deliver a fairer and more prosperous Scotland” and instead become a “battering ram for constitutional warfare”, Gordon Brown has said.

At the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the former Labour Prime Minister called for new reforms to end the “seemingly endless confrontation” between Edinburgh and London.

“We should mount a radical assault on child and pensioner poverty by reallocating some of the £10billion of Barnett money received annually from the UK Treasury,” he suggested

Mr Brown was PM from 2007 to 2010 after a decade as Chancellor in the Tony Blair government that introduced devolution 20 years ago.

However, he said the Scottish Parliament had proved a disappointment, despite its popularity with the public. 

He said: “While, from 1999, the new Parliament gradually established itself in the affections of the Scottish people, the fact is that - particularly during the past decade – it has, so far, failed to deliver a fairer and more prosperous Scotland. 

“So the time has come to argue for change: a Scottish Parliament acting explicitly and effectively as a genuine force for social, economic and educational progress -addressing the great issues of our day: ending child and pensioner poverty, building a national health and social care service, making our education system the best it can be and helping deliver not just full employment but fair and fulfilling employment and a sustainable economy.”

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He repeated his support for a “progressive and clear-cut federal-style division of powers”, with the House of Lords replaced by a Senate representing the UK’s nations and regions.

He said: “Unless we find new ways for Scotland and England to live side by side, our country - with or without independence - faces decades of the 21st century riven by constitutional conflict and division without ever creating what Scots really want - a nation rich in opportunity and free from poverty.

“Scotland is trapped between two extremes - Boris Johnson’s anti-European conservatism and the hardline separatism now advocated by Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP.

“Nationalists and Unionists, must both answer a simple question: what best meets the needs and aspirations of the Scottish people: whether social justice can be best advanced using the powers the Scottish Parliament has - and can gain - within the UK or through creating a separate state?  

“And if we are serious about addressing Scotland’s very real social and economic problems, the debate within our country must move beyond this Conservative-Nationalist Punch and Judy show - with every future election simply a re-run of the bitterly divisive 2014 referendum and without ever making a difference to real lives.”

He said the “modern case for the Union” must go beyond its longevity, the idea that “the Union endures because it exists and it exists because it endures”. 

He said: “Our case for the future needs to be built on the lasting virtues of empathy, reciprocity and solidarity between people. The starting point of a modern Union is that promoting co-operation between Scotland and England within the UK will achieve far more than a seemingly endless confrontation between Scotland and England.

“The vast majority of us are proud Scottish patriots who love our country and its institutions and most of whom would not describe ourselves as nationalists who see life only in terms of a never-ending struggle between an ‘us’ and a ‘them’.”

He said the SNP’s concept of a state was one with ”absolute control of all that it surveys”, whereas the world was more “interconnected and integrated”.

He said: “If the SNP applied the logic that has led them to support sharing sovereignty inside the European Union and were not obsessed by ending all connections with their neighbours in England, there would be a settled Scottish consensus in favour of a modern UK constitution that would balance the national autonomy Scots people desire with the cross border co-operation that we need. 

"That would mean a progressive and clear-cut federal-style division of powers between Westminster and Edinburgh and innovative constitutional reforms to guarantee funding, with the longer-term aim of reconstituting the House of Lords as a Senate representative of the Nations and Regions.

“The Scottish people voted for a Scottish Parliament - not for a separate Scottish state. And so the fourth, and currently the most relevant building block, if we are to meet the needs and aspirations of Scottish people is that the Scottish Parliament should function, as originally intended, as a force for social justice and economic opportunity and not as a battering ram for constitutional warfare.”