What is the court decision?
What is the SNP plane?
What is Westminster’s idea about that?
The court’s president Lord Reed said: “The Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate for an independence referendum.”
“The Scotland Act gives the Scottish Parliament limited powers,” he added. The Scottish Government had hoped to hold Indyref2 on October 19 next year. The UK Supreme Court has ruled that the Scottish Parliament cannot hold a second independence referendum without Westminster approval in a unanimous judgment likely to anger Scottish nationalists who say the country’s future is for Scottish voters to decide.
Announcing the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision, Lord Reed said that legislation for a second independence referendum would relate to “reserved matters” and was, therefore, outside the powers of the Holyrood. He said: “A lawfully-held referendum would have important political consequences for the Union and the United Kingdom Parliament.
The first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said immediately after the ruling: “Scottish democracy will not be denied.”
She said: “Today’s ruling blocks one route to Scotland’s voice being heard on independence – but in a democracy, our voice cannot and will not be silenced.”
Nicola Sturgeon said she respected the ruling but accused Westminster of showing “contempt” for Scotland’s democratic will. This ruling confirms that the notion of the UK as a voluntary partnership of nations if it ever was a reality, is no longer a reality,” she told a news conference.
Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “While disappointed by it, I respect the ruling of the UK Supreme Court. It doesn’t make law, only interprets it. A law that doesn’t allow Scotland to choose our own future without Westminster consent exposes as myth any notion of the UK as a voluntary partnership & makes a case for Indy.”
Sturgeon said her Government would look to use the next general election as a “de facto referendum” on separating from the rest of the UK after more than 300 years.
Four consecutive prime ministers have refused Sturgeon’s requests to grant her a section 30 order, the section of the 1998 Scotland Act – the legislation that established the Scottish Parliament – that allows the Holyrood to pass laws in areas that are normally reserved to Westminster, such as the union.
Previously The UK’s highest court has been asked to throw out a request to settle the “festering” issue of whether Holyrood can hold a referendum on Scottish independence without Westminster’s approval. Five judges led by Lord Reed, one of two Scottish judges in the supreme court, who is sitting with Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Sales, Lord Stephens and Lady Rose, are sitting for two days to hear arguments about that question from Bain and Eadie.
Opinion polls show that most Scottish voters support that argument more than independence, although only a third want a referendum next year
Nicola Sturgeon also faces calls from veteran independence activists to “trust the yes movement” as MPs and MSPs struggle to unite around her “de facto referendum” plan amid fears it could kill off independence as a prospect for decades if it fails.
The SNP’s defence spokesperson in Westminster, Stewart McDonald, urged colleagues on Twitter to ensure the plan was “legal, democratic and sound” and “must be able to lead to independence” and encouraged politicians to “shun talk of being imprisoned or shackled”.
Beyond the SNP, Chris McEleny, a former SNP councilor who first mooted the de facto plan at a party conference in 2019, where he was booed off stage by delegates. McEleny said this was “a good plan implemented in the worst possible way”.
Scottish Greens, who are in Government with the SNP at Holyrood, have said they are fielding a full slate of candidates with the pledge that a vote for the Greens is an independence vote. Their votes could be crucial in tipping pro-independence votes beyond the 50% mark.
The Scottish and UK governments have been in deadlock over the granting of an order under section 30 – the section of the Scotland Act that allows the Holyrood to pass laws in normally reserved areas. Three Tory prime ministers have refused Sturgeon’s request to grant her one.
Such an order was granted for the 2014 referendum under the Edinburgh agreement, which Sturgeon herself has described as “the gold standard”. Without it, opponents argue that a referendum would be illegal and unenforceable. But in June, Sturgeon wrong-footed critics by announcing that she had directed her lord advocate to take the question to the Supreme Court rather than waiting for a challenge further down the line from the UK government.
The SNP could wait until the next UK national election scheduled for 2025, hoping they will secure an increased majority, strengthening their case for independence
“We want this to be beyond doubt,” said Ruaridh Hanna, an SNP activist. “We need to convince more people [that] independence is the best way forward,” he told Euro news.
In a statement, the Scottish Conservatives called on the SNP to “drop their referendum obsession and focus on what matters to the people of Scotland. The country faces enormous challenges right now,” said party leader Douglas Ross. “Our economy and our NHS are in crisis.” Plus, there is every chance the 2025 election will not dramatically improve the fortunes of the SNP, setting the party up for a rerun of what has happened before.
The SNP have won eight elections since the first independence referendum in 2014. The party, together with the Scottish Greens, hold the largest pro-independence majority that there has ever been in Holyrood.
Later in the Commons, Mr Sunak said the ruling had been “clear and definitive”.
Rishi Sunak said: “The people of Scotland want us to be working on fixing the major challenges we collectively face, whether that’s the economy, supporting the NHS or indeed supporting Ukraine. Now is the time for politicians to work together, and that’s what this Government will do.”
Based on the Submission to the Kilbrandon Commission by the Labour Party 1970, “Scotland is not a region, but a member nation of the United Kingdom.”
Scotland’s status as a nation is recognized like the Scottish Parliament: a body that makes law and provides a democratically elected, national, political voice on all matters concerning Scotland. Donald Dewar famously expressed this at the opening of the first Scottish Parliament in 1999:
“Today, there is a new voice in the land, the voice of a democratic Parliament. A voice to shape Scotland, a voice above all for the future.”