Gordon Brown: 'Game-changing' moment could still see Britain stay in the EU

Posted On: 
9th November 2017

The UK could end up staying in the European Union if voters are presented with a "game-changing" reason to reject Brexit next summer, according to Gordon Brown.

Gordon Brown has said Britain leaving the EU is not a certainty.
PA Images

The former Prime Minister also refused to rule out the possibility of a second EU referendum being held on the terms of the deal Theresa May agrees with Brussels.

Mr Brown said Leave voters will discover next year that the promises they were made on controlling borders, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and an extra £350 million for the NHS, have not come to fruition.

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At that point, he claimed, they could be persuaded that staying in the EU is in the country's best interests.

Speaking to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, he said: "People have made their decision. It’s right for them to see that respected and in a democracy, once a decision’s made - and it was made in Scotland - you have to respect, in each, in each area where it’s made.  But what you can say, is there a game-changer?  Is there something that we didn’t get right the last time that would persuade millions of Leave voters to think it was worth going for Remain?

"And that game-changer must have the support of course of the rest of Europe because we couldn’t get it through otherwise and I would like to see a situation at the end of negotiations where we say that’s what you get when you leave but is there something else that is a game-changer that you get if you’re prepared to stay?

"Now you can’t do this till next summer and you can’t do this without a great deal of work. You’d have to be able to say something about migration, about the courts, about money but I think that is the point at which the nation should be given new information about what is possible. 

"So I’m not advocating a referendum at this stage. I’m not advocating a sort of change of position in that respect. What I’m saying is let us look at the facts next summer when we know that the promises that were made by the Leave campaign will not have been achieved."


Elsewhere in the interview, Mr Brown that despite voting to stay in the UK in 2014, Scotland "is not stable for the long term" and warned it could eventually face a Catalonia-style constitutional crisis.

He said Brexit should lead to a raft of new powers for the Scottish Parliament, and again made the case for a semi-autonomous Scotland within a federal UK.

"I see Scotland stuck in a rut, if we don’t watch, between two opposing factions that can’t find a way of communicating with each other," he said. "I see a middle way that I would argue for and if there was a chance to do that, I would say that we have to re-write part of our constitution, accept that the current devolution settlement is not strong enough for the future, make sure that Scottish people feel more comfortable in the United Kingdom and that the United Kingdom feels more comfortable with the relationship they have with Scotland."