The UK’s highest court has ruled that the Scottish Parliament cannot legislate for a second independence referendum without Westminster’s consent.

The case was brought to the court after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set out plans to hold a second vote on independence on October 19, 2023.

But Supreme Court president Lord Reed said on Wednesday: “The Scottish parliament does not have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence.”


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Barrhead News:

It means the Scottish Government’s top law officer, the Lord Advocate, will not be able to clear the Bill for passage through the Scottish Parliament.

Dorothy Bain KC had referred the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill to the court, seeking its decision on whether Holyrood had the competence to pass the legislation.

The UK Government, which is opposed to a second vote on independence, said it is “obvious” that the Bill relates a matter reserved to Westminster.

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Barrhead News:

Its legal representative, Sir James Eadie KC, also argued that the Bill was at too early a stage for the court to issue a ruling on.

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that while she was “disappointed” by the decision, she would “respect ” the ruling the court had made.

The Scottish First Minister added that the “ruling of @UKSupremeCourt – it doesn’t make law, only interprets it”.

She stated: “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 case for Indy.”

Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said the court’s decision should be respected – and insisted Labour could offer the change needed by the people of Scotland.

“The UK Supreme Court has made their decision and we should respect that and thank them for their work,” he said.

“The people of Scotland do want and need change regardless of their views on the constitution.

“Change is coming with a UK Labour government at the next election.”

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said: “This ruling exposes the fundamentally undemocratic nature of Westminster rule.

“It is time for the UK Government to guarantee the right to self-determination for all the devolved nations.”