The UK Supreme Court says Scotland cannot hold an independence referendum


LONDON – The Scottish Parliament does not have the power to hold a referendum on independence without the consent of the British government, dashing hopes of a second vote next year on whether Scots want to leave the United Kingdom.

The decision was issued by Britain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, which ruled that the Scottish parliament could not legislate on the matter.

The court took the side of the British government, which argued that “fundamental matters” – such as the fate of the Union – were held in power by the British Parliament sitting in the Palace of Westminster in London.

The British government – led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and now Rishi Sunak – opposed a second referendum.

Scotland’s leader is seeking a new independence ballot in October 2023

The government allowed a referendum in 2014, in which a majority of Scots voted to remain in the UK, by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent.

The question of independence has been complicated two years into the June 2016 vote on Brexit – where Scots strongly supported remaining in the EU, by 62 per cent to 38 per cent.

Johnson argued that the 2014 referendum was a “once in a generation” vote and that the issue was settled.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Sunak called the court’s ruling “clear and definitive” and said Scottish leadership must focus on more pressing challenges, such as reforming the National Health Service and helping the economy.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has been pushing for a referendum in October next year. Sturgeon leads the Scottish National Party, the country’s biggest vote-getter, which is seeking independence, and says there is an “undisputed mandate” for another vote.

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Her government has made clear in reports the reasons it believes Scotland should now be separated – more than ever – from the United Kingdom. between them? So Scotland could join the European Union.

After the verdict Sturgeon issued a statementsaying she respects the Supreme Court, but adding, “It doesn’t make the law, it just interprets it.”

In a tweet, Sturgeon said, “A law that does not allow Scotland to choose our future without the consent of Westminster demystifies any idea of ​​the UK as a voluntary partnership and puts forward the Indy case,” short for the second referendum.

She said: “Scottish democracy will not be denied”. “Today’s ruling blocks one way for Scotland to be heard at independence – but in a democracy our voice cannot and will not be silenced.”

At a press conference, Sturgeon said the next general election, scheduled for no later than January 2025, should act as a “de facto referendum” on independence. How exactly this will work is still not clear.

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