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UK Supreme Court rules Scotland cannot hold independence referendum


LONDON — The Scottish Parliament does not have the power to hold an independence referendum without the consent of the British government, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday, dashing hopes of a second vote next year on the question of whether Scots want to leave the UK.

In ruling that the Scottish Parliament cannot legislate on the matter, the court sided with the UK government, which argued that on ‘fundamental issues’ – such as the fate of the union – power is held by the British Parliament sitting in the Palace. from Westminster to London.

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

Scottish leader calls for another vote for independence in October 2023

The government authorized a referendum in 2014, in which a majority of Scots voted to stay in the UK, 55% to 45%.

The question of independence became more complicated two years later with the June 2016 vote on Brexit – in which the Scots strongly supported staying in the European Union, by 62% against 38%.

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 decision “clear and final” and said Scotland’s leaders should turn to more pressing challenges, such as fixing the national health service and helping the economy.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had pushed for a referendum in October next year. Sturgeon leads the Scottish National Party, the country’s biggest vote-giver, which is pushing for independence, and she says there is an ‘undisputed mandate’ to have another vote.

His government has set out in reports why it thinks Scotland should now – more than ever – be separate from the UK. Among them? Thus, Scotland could join the European Union.

After the judgement, Sturgeon released a statement saying that she respected the Supreme Court, but adding: She “does not make the law, she only interprets it”.

In a tweet, Sturgeon said that “a law which does not allow Scotland to choose its own future without the consent of Westminster exposes as a myth any notion of the UK as a voluntary partnership and argues for ‘Indy’, the shorthand for a second referendum.

“Scottish democracy will not be denied,” she said. “Today’s decision blocks a path for Scotland’s voice to be heard on independence – but in a democracy our voice cannot and will not be silenced.”

At a press conference, Sturgeon said the next general election, due no later than January 2025, should serve as a “de facto referendum” on independence. Exactly how this would work remains unclear.


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