Scotland is one of the four countries in the United Kingdom that unified with England in 1707 after the Act of Unions was passed by the parliaments of both countries. In 2014, mostly because of economic matters, Scotland had held an independent vote but the referendum was not approved by the majority. Lately Scotland once again has emphasized on another referendum while the UK government has opposed it. By the Act of 1998, Scottish parliament, Holyrood, was created and Westminster devolved some powers to it. Issues related to the “Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England” are reserved to the UK parliament in London. However, on the advice of the UK government, the Section 30 Order was made by the Queen which is a subordinate legislation made under the Scotland Act. It was approved by the Scottish Parliament, House of Commons and House of Lords and for legislations should be approved by all of them.
The Act of 1998 created Scottish parliament and Westminster devolved some authority to it
Westminster had granted the Scotland government the authority to hold an independent referendum in 2014 by using the Section 30 Order. In 2014, Scotland held an independent referendum and voted 55 percent – 45 percent to stay in the United Kingdom. Alex Salmond then the leader of Scotland National Party (SNP) had called the independent referendum once in a generation opportunity. SNP was expecting that by being independent and governing itself, Scotland would be a more democratic, equivalent and progressive society. Pro-independent groups focused on economic issues like funding for public services, jobs, and national wealth, also they argued that by being independent Scots could decide how to spend their wealth themselves. Scotland owns oil reserves and the yes-campaign believed they could decide for themselves how to spend the oil money and would cut the spending on Trident nuclear project to devote it for social matters such as child care and pensions. The no-campaign raised some economic issues too; they said there is a doubt over the reliability of oil reserves. There was also fear of businesses pulling out of Scotland and fear of the future currency.
2014 Scotland independent referendum ended in 55 % – 45 % to remain in the UK
While the 2014 independent referendum was rejected by the majority of Scotland people, after Brexit referendum in 2016, the issue was raised again. SNP argued that Scotland was being taken out of the European Union against people’s wills, therefor it would justify a second independent referendum. Scots voted 62 percent to 38 percent in EU referendum to remain in the bloc. When London triggered Article 50 in 2017, Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and leader of SNP had formally requested Westminster to hold another Scotland independent referendum. The UK government which was busy with Brexit process, declined and said it was not the time for that. In 2019 Scotland again requested for a second independent referendum to be held in 2020 but later changed the time to late 2019 which was again rejected by the UK government. And the UK prime minister reminded that the 2014 independent vote was once in a generation opportunity. Scotland government has sought to hold an independent referendum without London’s permission, however the top civil court in Scotland dismissed the case that Scottish parliament can hold a vote without UK government permission.
Brexit result was against Scots’ will so SNP has kept requesting for a second independent referendum
Scottish government can initiate Section 30 Order to become a law, nevertheless it needs approval of the House of Commons, House of Lords and the devolved parliament of Scotland. This order is a sort of secondary legislation made under the Scotland Act 1998 and can be employed to rise or limit the Scottish Parliament’s legislative power temporarily or permanently. The Section 30 can change the Scottish Parliament’s power by changing the list of the so-called “reserved powers” in Schedule 5 of the Act, and by defending modifications in Schedule 4 of the Scotland Act 1998. Such Orders have been used 16 times since 1999 that the devolved Scottish Parliament was created. The most significant one was the Scotland Act 1998, Modification of Schedule 5 Order in 2013. This change devolved power to legislate for a Scottish independent referendum temporarily and that was held on 18 September 2014.
Section 30 can be initiated by Scotland but it needs approval of the Commons and Lords
With enormous different views among the politicians of every side over the second vote for an independent Scotland, still decisions of authorities engaged in the matter should be seen. The final decision is not clear yet but Scotland has been emphasizing on a second independent referendum through the recent years. However the conservative administration has kept rejecting the referendum request and since the majority in House of Commons are Conservatives, the request will not probably be approved in the near future. House of Commons is the most powerful place to pass a law and the House of Lords will double check the laws. Of course bills can be made in either chamber but will be debated and examined in the other one, too.
Conservative have been against a second independent referendum
Both houses must agree on the final text to be signed off by the Monarch and become and Act. The Lords cannot approve a bill which is already blocked by the Commons. It is unlikely that Royal family would openly speak about the independent Scotland but according to the sources close to Queen, she is not happy with such discussions. Of course, Queen can impact the UK constitution. Her consent is a “procedural rule” which has effects on the workings of parliament in certain types of legislation before approval by house of Commons and House of Lords.
Queen can have impact on the UK constitution
Union of Scotland and England goes back to three centuries ago but in the recent decade Scotland has requested to be independent from London. The Scotland Act of 1998 created Holyrood with powers to pass laws on devolved matters. MSPs cannot pass a law related to the union of Kingdoms of Scotland and England. Yet, there is Section 30 Order which is a subordinate legislation under Scotland Act but it requires London approval on cases like independent referendums. Some supporters of independent Scotland have suggested an unofficial referendum in 2021 but the Firs Minister rejected that idea. Scottish government prefers agreement with the UK government because any unauthorized referendum could be halted in the Supreme Court. However, the UK government has not agreed with a second vote and may not agree on any in the near future.