GORDON Brown has admitted that the UK could be on its last legs.

The former prime minister and ex-Labour leader told the BBC that the union’s “three hundred year old history may at some point soon be over” unless there was dramatic shift in power from London to the nations and regions.

His intervention came as the Northern Ireland Assembly, like the Scottish Parliament, refused to give consent to Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill. That will almost certainly be the decision made by the Senedd in Wales when it comes before Assembly Members.

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Nevertheless, despite those votes, the UK will be out of the EU in just 10 days time.

In his interview, Brown was dismissive of “cosmetic” plans leaked over the weekend from Number 10 suggesting that the House of Lords could be relocated to York.

The National: Former prime minister Gordon Brown

He told the BBC: “Unless the regions and nations feel they have a voice that is respected in the United Kingdom, the UK’s three-hundred-year-old history may at some point soon be over.

“We have to give more power to people in the communities and in the localities and the regions. We have a far too over-centralised state based in one part of the country – an administrative, political and financial centre that excludes power from people out in the regions.”

He called for a convention to decide on changes to the constitution, with the public being given a say through a series of citizens’ assemblies.

“The regions and nations have got to have a voice. It can’t be central diktats again from Whitehall. It can’t be cosmetic initiatives dreamed up in London about sending MPs around the regions or moving the House of Lords somewhere different.

“An anachronistic institution will remain an anachronistic institution even if it is 200 miles north of London.”

Brown refused to say who he was backing in the race to replace Jeremy Corbyn, but accused his successors of taking Labour voters in Scotland, Wales and the north of England for granted.

“The Labour Party needs to look at itself, admit it got things wrong and sort itself out,” he said.

“I’ve said to the candidates I’ve talked to ‘you have got to put forward an economic vision’ for the future of the country.

“Wages have been stagnating, public services have been deteriorating, people are on insecure zero-hours contracts. The Labour party should be doing well in these circumstances.”

At an event organised by the Hope Not Hate charity, Brown claimed the SNP had failed to win the argument over independence in Scotland.

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“There is not a decisive majority or even an overwhelming majority, as [the SNP] would argue, for independence,” he said. “The danger for Scotland is that we are caught between two positions – a no-change unionism, the status quo, and independence, which is where the nationalists want the debate to be.”

The SNP’s Pete Wishart wasn’t convinced: “This is yet another tired and out of touch intervention from Gordon Brown. For all his suggested tinkering with the constitution he would still rather see Scotland run by a detached Tory Westminster government we didn’t vote for than be independent. This intervention is about securing the status quo, rather than what is for the good of the people of Scotland.

“As more and more people are driven towards Scotland’s right to choose, Gordon Brown would still rather accept Boris Johnson’s broken, Brexit Britain than see an independent, progressive Scotland – it’s little wonder that Scottish Labour are doomed to irrelevance.”