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Covid-19 crisis made the UK ‘look dysfunctional’, says Gordon Brown

26 Feb 2021 2 minute read
Gordon Brown. Picture by World Economic Forum (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The Covid-19 crisis has made the UK look “dysfunctional”, according to Gordon Brown.

The former UK Prime Minister put this down to due to a lack of co-operation with the devolved administrations and also claimed that Boris Johnson risks becoming the “biggest recruiting sergeant for nationalism”.

In an article for the Scottish Fabians think tank Brown accuses Johnson of undermining devolution with the post-Brexit Internal Market Act, which takes powers away from the devolved national parliaments.

Brown said: “If he continues in this manner, Boris Johnson risks becoming the biggest recruiting sergeant for nationalism and will lose any hope of persuading Scotland’s undecided voters to stay with the UK.”

He also suggested that the administrations around the UK had failed to work together through joint ministerial committees.

‘Pay the price’

Brown added: “Co-operation during the pandemic has faltered with too many people having to pay the price for the absence of joined-up decision-making.

“At times Britain has looked like a dysfunctional state.

“While Scotland’s first minister has attended some Cobra meetings on the pandemic there is no regular consultation between her and the prime minister.

“Instead, because of a failure to co-ordinate the machinery of government we are at the mercy of ad-hoc initiatives and informal conversations.

“This cannot be the basis of how two administrations work together.”

A UK government spokesman told the New European: “We have been working closely with the devolved administrations at every stage of the pandemic – from providing business support, to rolling out the vaccine programme which has been an extraordinary success right across the UK.

“The Union is at the heart of everything the government does, and we are committed to delivering for all parts of the UK”.

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