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Gordon Brown vows to 'nail the SNP lie' on NHS privatisation

The former Prime Minister accused nationalists of misleading people over the NHS.

Gordon Brown referendum campaign  Labour quality indyref

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has spoken of the death of his daughter and his partial blindness as he vowed to "nail the SNP lie" that Scotland's health service is at risk of privatisation.

Mr Brown made the very personal plea as he accused the nationalists of misleading people over the issue, which he described as a "Trojan horse" in the independence referendum debate.

The SNP has repeatedly argued that the only way to save the health service from privatisation in Scotland is a Yes vote.

Addressing activists in Glasgow, Mr Brown's voice wavered slightly as he spoke about his baby daughter Jennifer Jane, who died from a brain haemorrhage in 2002.

He also spoke about how his sight was saved after a rugby accident left him blind in one eye at the age of 16.

The Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP said: "I love Scotland, I love the NHS. I was born into the NHS, I grew up in the NHS, my family grew up in the NHS.

"When I lost the sight of my eye and faced the prospect of going blind, my sight was saved by the NHS.

"When my daughter died it was as the result of not being able, not being able, to do anything to save her life and my respect for the NHS grew as a result of the experience that Sarah and I had.

"Do you think that I or anybody else who cares about the NHS would stand by and do nothing if we thought the NHS was going to be privatised in Scotland and its funds were going to be cut? Would we stand back and do nothing without a fight? Of course not.

"We created the NHS, we, not the SNP, built the NHS, we cherished the NHS, in Government we took the pain of a tax rise to double the budget of the NHS.

"The only people who could put the Scottish Parliament and the health service in Scotland at risk is the SNP, not the Labour Party."

Mr Brown, who will speak at 40 events in the days leading up to the referendum on September 18, said it is time to "nail the SNP lie".

He said: "The NHS cannot be privatised if that's not the will of the Scottish people and the Scottish health service will have the funding that's necessary if that's also the will of the Scottish people.

"Our proposals for a Scottish Parliament with more powers enhance the prospect for that funding over the next few years, without the disruption, the chaos and uncertainty and the loss that will occur if we break from the United Kingdom."

The leaders of the three main pro-union parties have come together to pledge more powers for Scotland if it rejects independence.

Mr Brown, who set out a proposed timetable for greater autonomy for Holyrood yesterday, said these additional powers would bring "faster, fairer, safer and better" change.

He said: "The choice on September 18 is really between two different kinds of change.

"The change sought by the nationalists - breaking all constitutional connections with our friends, neighbours and family in the rest of the UK - places the dogma of independence over the needs and interests of the Scottish people.

"But the proposals supported by the pro-devolution parties offer faster change, fairer change, safer change and better change. It is the change that most of us want and change that brings Scotland together.

"We have now answered the question that the people of Scotland had for us about the certainty of change within the UK. Now it is time for Alex Salmond to answer the huge questions people have about independence."

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