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Gordon Brown warns workers’ rights under attack in event of Brexit

Brexit would trigger a backlash against workers’ rights as protections upheld across the EU are dismantled, Gordon Brown has warned.

The former Labour Prime Minister said the EU acts as a safeguard against countries undercutting each other through scrimping on employment rights.

The bloc-wide harmonisation of employment rules prevents a “dog-eat-dog” race to the bottom on everything from holiday pay to maximum hours worked, the former Fife MP added.

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon said she will not share a platform with other parties as part of the SNP’s campaign for Scotland and the UK to remain in the EU.

Mr Brown, who speaking in London, said the EU offers a moral compass as well as free trade.

In a significant intervention for the Remain camp, he said: “Think of the maximum working week. Think of holiday pay. Think of the transfer of undertakings when companies go bust and employees are protected.

“Think of the social chapter in Europe preventing a race to the bottom, preventing a dog-eat-dog competition between European nations vying with each other for the inward investment that’s available by social dumping and by the lowering of standards.”

Ms Sturgeon ruled out joining with other parties as part of a collective voice in favour of Remain.

“I clearly don’t entirely share the same view or reasons for staying in as David Cameron, although there are some reasons we do have in common, but there will also be differences between us,” she said.

“We will maximise support for staying in if he appeals to those more likely to listen to him and I appeal to those more likely to listen to me.”

Boris Johnson, the Conservative MP, launched a Vote Leave battle bus campaign in Cornwall.

He told the BBC: “Of the £20 billion we send to Brussels a year, £10 billion we never see again. It goes on all sorts of things – Greek tobacco farming, Spanish bull-fighting. With that net money back in our country we could fund things like the NHS, our science base, our academic health science centres even more generously than we currently do.”

He also denied suggestions that Brexit would propel him into 10 Downing Street. Ian Murray, the Labour MP, suggested in the Commons yesterday that the EU referendum is “more about settling old scores in the Conservative party than doing what is best for the UK and Scotland”.

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