Wed 23 November 2022:
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has ruled that the Scottish government cannot hold a second referendum on independence next year without the approval of the British parliament, effectively killing nationalists’ hopes of holding a vote in 2023.
Scots rejected ending the more than 300-year-old union with England by a vote of 55 percent to 45 percent in 2014, but independence campaigners argue that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union two years later, which the majority of Scottish voters opposed, has materially changed the circumstances.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), announced earlier this year that she planned to hold an advisory independence referendum on October 19, 2023, but that it would have to be legal and internationally recognized.
However, the British government in London has stated that it will not allow another plebiscite, stating that it should be a once-in-a-generation event.
Polls show that voters are evenly divided on whether they support independence, and a vote would be too close to call.
The Scottish government’s most senior law officer had asked the UK Supreme Court whether the Scottish government could pass legislation paving the way for an advisory second referendum without the approval of the UK parliament.
The court ruled on Wednesday it could not.
“The Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence,” said Robert Reed, the president of the UK Supreme Court.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Wednesday the case for Scottish independence was only strengthened by a UK Supreme Court ruling which effectively blocks a second independence referendum unless it is allowed by Britain.
Sturgeon wrote on Twitter she was disappointed by the ruling but that she would respect 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 and makes case for Indy,” she said.
“Scottish democracy will not be denied. 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.”
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT PRESS AND NEWS AGENCIES
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