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Catholic politician: Gordon Brown has 'no authority to offer new powers'

The leader of the SNP group on Inverclyde Council has dismissed the offer of new powers for the Scottish Parliament if the 'no' vote carries at the independence referendum.

Councillor Chris McEleny was one of 100 Catholics who signed an open letter featured in The Herald urging Scots to vote 'yes' on Thursday.

Millions will be asked, 'Should Scotland be an independent country?' The result is expected early on Friday morning and the three main Westminster leaders have promised to devolve more powers to Scotland if it stays part of the UK.

Daily Record

David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have signed a letter that appears on the front page of the Daily Record.

It promises "extensive new powers" for the Scottish Parliament, "delivered by the process and to the timetable agreed" by the three parties.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown confirmed the offer at a speech near Glasgow.

He said: "I think people are going to come to the conclusion that the change they really want is to have a Scottish Parliament as part of the UK, not the change that the SNP want, which is the chaos of a separate state.

"Because of the continued allocation of funds from the Barnett Formula [used to allocate Scotland's share of the UK budget], and because of the power to raise revenue within the Scottish Parliament, then the final decision about what we spend on the NHS is not going to be made by anyone outside Scotland. It is a matter for the Scottish people themselves, with the powers we already have, without having to go for a separate state."

But Councillor McEleny told Premier that Mr Brown has no right to set out plans for new powers and that he has no control over any further devolution.

Inverclyde Council

He said: "He's now a backbench MP with no authority whatsoever to offer any new powers.

"And interestingly, remember he was prime minister in the last Labour government.

"He was the right-hand man, the chancellor of the exchequer.

"For 13 years, he was the man in the absolute position to offer us new powers and he didn't offer Scotland one single power."

First minister Alex Salmond told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland: "This so-called vow that has been in the Daily Record, I suspect it's been called a vow because the last time one of these leaders made a pledge and signed the pledge was the deputy prime minister Nick Clegg when he signed a pledge that he wouldn't have tuition fees and then promptly put them up to £9,000 for English students in England."

Councillor McEleny was speaking on Tuesday's News Hour on behalf of the Yes campaign. You can hear a representative of the No campaign on Wednesday.

Listen to the full interview with Premier's Antony Bushfield here:

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