GORDON BROWN has said he fears for the future of Scotland and wants to “play a part” in trying to ‘unite a divided country’.

The former Prime Minister also claimed that Scotland was “at risk of becoming one of the West’s most divided countries” after a poll suggested just 16 per cent of Scots believe the country is united.

The poll, conducted by YouGov and commissioned by Mr Brown’s Our Scottish Future think tank, surveyed 2,500 Scots last week, and found almost half (47%) of people thought the country would always be divided on the issues of Brexit and independence.

It also found that 44% of people have less trust in politicians, and a third wouldn’t talk about politics with casual acquaintances.

When asked who was to blame for the divisions, half of respondents (50%) said the SNP, and 49% said Nicola Sturgeon, while the prospect of a second referendum was blamed by 40 per cent of people, Westminster politicians by 18%, and a quarter of respondents agreed that ‘everyone bears some responsibility’.

Speaking to the Herald, Mr Brown said he was “shocked” by the survey findings, and added: “In the federal states of America, the states are run by different kinds of political parties but in the centre they find a way of working together, in Germany they find a way of working together…can we not find a way where Scotland can work with Britain instead of the stand-off of the SNP, and the ‘devolve and forget’ policy of the Tories. There has got to be a way forward. We must think about how divided we can afford to be.

“One example I would use is drugs. There are so many people dying each year and we can’t even get the two governments to work together. They are holding alternative summits. On climate change, the biggest issue facing the planet, we can’t agree who hires a hall, which flags are going up outside.

When asked if the Labour party was in a suitable position to help unite the country, Mr Brown said: “ I think every party has to look at what it can do to bring back unity. I think reforming the UK constitution post-Brexit, you have to have more powers for the parliament, but also think about working together and how that can be done for the common good.”

Mr Brown, who has started holding ‘neighbourhood assembly’ events to discuss what Scots think needs to change to unite the country, said he was motivated to hold the sessions as “I am so worried about the situation in Scotland that I want to play a part with other people, and see what we can find as common ground.”

Tomorrow the former Labour leader will speak at the These Islands conference in Newcastle, along with Willie Rennie of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

Mr Rennie is expected to tell conference attendees that the case for Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom should show how caring and compassionate the people of our country have been collectively. He plans to focus on the NHS within his speech, where he is expected to say: “Everyone who wants to keep our country together must be loud and proud about the UK’s greatest achievement – the NHS.

“We won the economic argument in 2014, now we need to win the argument about how caring and compassionate the people of the United Kingdom have been and continue to be.

“No other country in the world has created such a much loved and valued health service.

“It shows what the United Kingdom can do and will continue to do.

“In comparison with the healthcare systems of ten other countries from Australia to Canada to France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA, the NHS was found to be the most impressive overall by the Commonwealth Fund in 2017.

“Every year are over 25million attendances at A&E and 20million admissions to hospital.

“It’s the fifth largest employer in the world.

“We’ve forged it together. We’ve maintained it together. We’re all equally proud of it. The NHS shows what the United Kingdom can do. Together we can achieve so much more.”