Supporters of the union will need to find a “positive argument” to keep Scotland in the UK, Gordon Brown has said. 

Speaking to the FT, the former prime minister said it was not enough to rely on the SNP having “messed it up”.

While Humza Yousaf’s party’s popularity has plummeted in recent years, support for independence has remained steady.

Last week, a YouGov survey had Labour ahead of the SNP in Westminster voting for the first time since before the 2014 referendum.

But while the SNP has the support of just 31% of voters, some 47% are in favour of Scottish independence.

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Mr Brown told the FT it would be a “challenge” to defeat the Yes campaign now.

“You’ve got to put a positive argument. You can’t just say the SNP have failed, therefore independence is off the agenda . . . 

"In the long run, the forces pulling Britain apart are greater than the forces holding it together, unless something is done about it.”

He later told the paper: “Britain’s got major problems, partly because of Brexit and everything else.

"But we’ve never fallen, except for very brief periods, for self-interested individualism.

"We could build a cohesive and fair society if we had the right conditions.”

Last year, Mr Brown published a “blueprint” for constitutional change. If picked up by a Starmer government, it would see Labour devolve powers across the rest of the UK and replace the House of Lords with an elected senate of regions and nations.

Asked if it was going to be adopted, he replied: “We’ll see.”

The ex-Labour leader was speaking to the paper to promote the multibank, which he established with online retail giant Amazon.

They operate like a food bank but also provide clothes, furnishing, toiletries, and baby goods, with many of the donations coming from companies with surplus goods. that people need, and charities know the people who need them.

Since August 2022, they have given away 2 million items, worth £20m.

“Next year, we could get up 20 million, which could be £200m,” he said.

READ MORE: Gordon Brown's mission to open new multibank across UK

Last November, The Herald revealed that Mr Brown’s ambition is to open another six across the UK, including one in Glasgow.

Responding to Mr Brown's comments on independence, SNP Depute Leader, Keith Brown said: “There has never been a positive argument for Scotland remaining under Westminster control and it seems that even Gordon Brown can now see that to be the case.

“During the 2014 independence referendum, the 'No’ campaign was built on nothing more than scaremongering and, what we can now see to be, broken promises - and, since then, the damage Westminster has inflicted on Scotland is unforgivable. 

"Westminster isn’t working for Scotland and there is no positive case for broken Brexit Britain - only the SNP and independence offers a better future for our country.

“Just like other comparable independent nations, Scotland has the resources, skills and people to be a successful country but the failing Westminster system is holding us back from reaching our potential.

“With the Tories and Keir Starmer’s Labour Party offering no meaningful change, the Westminster election is an opportunity for people to vote SNP to build a stronger, fairer, wealthier country where decisions about Scotland are taken in Scotland with independence."

Scottish Greens economy spokesperson Maggie Chapman said: “Given opinion polls show public opinion on independence is broadly 50-50 at the moment, way higher than when the Yes campaign first kicked-off, and after more than a decade of Tory austerity, any new Labour government must accept Scotland deserves the chance to put a vote to the people once again - anything less would be undemocratic. “