SCOTTISH independence is the only thing Boris Johnson will be remembered for if it happens while he is Prime Minister, one of his predecessors has warned. 

Gordon Brown said history would record the end of the UK as Mr Johnson’s main legacy, and accused the Prime Minister of still not understanding the Union.

The former Labour PM, who this week launched a new pro-Union campaign aimed at ‘middle Scotland’, said Mr Johnson needed to focus “pretty urgently” if he wanted to save the UK. 

He likened him to Lord North, the Prime Minister when Great Britain lost the American war of independence, a defeat that has become his political epitaph. 

Nicola Sturgeon has claimed a cast-iron mandate for a second independnce referendum after the SNP won 64 of the 129 seats in last week's Holyrood election.

Although one short of an SNP majority, the parliament still has its largest pro-independence majority thanks to the Scottish Greens also winning eight MSPs.

The First Minister has said her immediate priority is recovery from the pandemic, but also that she wants Indyref2 by 2024, Covid permitting, followed by independence in 2026.

Speaking on Times Radio today, Mr Brown said: “The problem for Boris Johnson is, I think he had one sentence in his speech yesterday, the Queen’s Speech, about the union itself.

“I don’t think he’s thought about it, I don’t think he understands it, I think he’s got to start beginning to understand it.

“He’s a historian, he must remember that Lord North was the prime minister who lost America and that’s all he’s remembered for, if Boris Johnson becomes the Prime Minister who loses Scotland and sees the end of the United Kingdom, that’s all he will be remembered for.

“We need to give some attention to this issue, and we need to do it pretty urgently.”

Mr Brown, who left office in 2010, has warned the “muscular unionism” of the current Westminster administration is likely to backfire and antagonise Scots.

He cited the new UK initiative of financing projects in Scotland directly through local authorities, bypassing Holyrood, as an example. 

More people in Scotland embrace their Scottish identity first before their British identity, according to Mr Brown.

He said a person can be a “patriotic Scot” while also supporting the union – but he added the union should be one where “people are co-operating with each other rather than, as Boris Johnson seems to be doing, putting people at permanent war with each other”.

Mr Brown said about 40 per cent of people in Scotland are not unshakeably convinced either of the case for the union or for independence.

He called for a permanent forum of all the nations and regions to be set up where issues can be discussed, including the leaders of the devolved administrations and English mayors.

“Then we’d get a sense that we were talking about issues that have got to be sorted by all these people working together,” he said.

“Bring people in, that would be the first step, but that’s only the first step to trying to sort out what is a major problem that I think the United Kingdom now faces.”

Earlier this week, Mr Brown’s think tank Our Scottish Future became a “campaigning movement” for Scotland to remain in the UK, but also the reform of the union.