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Supreme Court ruling Nicola Sturgeon cannot hold a referendum on Scottish independence

Sturgeon LOSES bid to force new Scottish referendum: SNP chief says separatist drive ‘will not be silenced’ and will make ‘full statement’ at 11.30am after Supreme Court rules she CANNOT start vote without green light of Rishi Sunak

  • The Supreme Court has ruled on Nicola Sturgeon’s latest referendum on the Scottish referendum
  • Judges said issues related to sovereignty are the preserve of the British government
  • SNP wanted to vote in October without Westminster’s permission
  • The Prime Minister has vowed to fight for independence in the next election if she loses

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Nicola Sturgeon today warned she ‘will not be silenced’ after a huge setback in her fight to split the UK.

The SNP leader admitted the Supreme Court has closed down ‘one route’ to a referendum after unanimously ruling it cannot legislate without Westminster’s approval.

President Lord Reed said the court had the power to decide the matter, and that the sovereignty issue was “reserved” for the British government rather than Holyrood.

But Ms Sturgeon complained that the UK is not a ‘voluntary union’, tweeting that she will spell out her next steps in a statement at 11.30am.

She previously promised that if she lost, the SNP would fight the next general election over a single issue, namely holding a new referendum – although she has crucially ruled out a ‘wild’ vote.

“Today’s ruling blocks one way for Scotland’s voice to be heard on independence – but in a democracy our voice cannot and will not be silenced,” said Ms Sturgeon.

Before their arguments were rejected, the Scottish government wanted to vote on October 19 next year.

Polls show that the Scottish public is divided on the issue of independence. The latest referendum – billed by both sides as once in a generation – produced a 55-45 percent victory for union members.

Supreme Court president Lord Reed said it had the power to decide the issue, and that the sovereignty issue was “reserved” for the UK government

Nicola Sturgeon got a moment of truth in her battle to split the UK today, as the Supreme Court ruled whether she can hold a referendum without Westminster's approval

Nicola Sturgeon got a moment of truth in her battle to split the UK today, as the Supreme Court ruled whether she can hold a referendum without Westminster's approval

Nicola Sturgeon got a moment of truth in her battle to split the UK today, as the Supreme Court ruled whether she can hold a referendum without Westminster’s approval

Scottish Shadow Secretary Ian Murray urged the SNP to 'respect' the ruling.  SNP MP Hannah Bardell said the UK is not a 'voluntary trade union'

Scottish Shadow Secretary Ian Murray urged the SNP to 'respect' the ruling.  SNP MP Hannah Bardell said the UK is not a 'voluntary trade union'

Scottish Shadow Secretary Ian Murray urged the SNP to ‘respect’ the ruling. SNP MP Hannah Bardell said the UK is not a ‘voluntary trade union’

Polls show that the Scottish public is divided on the issue of independence

Polls show that the Scottish public is divided on the issue of independence

Polls show that the Scottish public is divided on the issue of independence

Lord Reed rejected comparisons to Quebec’s attempts to hold a referendum.

“The court unanimously concludes that the bill does concern reserved matters,” he said. “The Scottish Parliament has no power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence.”

He explained the decision, saying: ‘A lawfully conducted referendum would have important political implications for the Union and the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Its outcome would, in a democracy-based constitution and political culture, possess the authority of a democratic expression of the opinion of the Scottish electorate.

It would strengthen or weaken the democratic legitimacy of the Union and of the British Parliament’s sovereignty over Scotland, depending on the prevailing view, and it would support or undermine the democratic credentials of the independence movement.

“It is therefore clear that the Bill has more than a loose or consistent connection with the reserved affairs of the Union of Scotland and England, and the sovereignty of the British Parliament.”

It means that the Scottish Government’s Chief Public Prosecutor, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC, will not be able to pass the bill for approval by the Scottish Parliament.

At a two-day hearing in October, Ms Bain asked the court to decide whether Holyrood has the authority to legislate for the vote.

She said resolving the legality of the proposed Scottish independence referendum bill is a “critically important question”.

Ms Bain said the issue had been ‘festering’ since the early days of devolution.

Judges rejected pressure from the SNP to legislate for a replay of the 2014 contest, despite Rishi Sunak (pictured) refusing to sign the plans

Judges rejected pressure from the SNP to legislate for a replay of the 2014 contest, despite Rishi Sunak (pictured) refusing to sign the plans

Judges rejected pressure from the SNP to legislate for a replay of the 2014 contest, despite Rishi Sunak (pictured) refusing to sign the plans

UK Government representative Sir James Eadie KC argued that the bill ‘directly and directly’ concerns a matter reserved for Westminster – the union between Scotland and England.

He also argued that the bill is at too early a stage for the court to rule on it, and said the issue of the bill’s jurisdiction should not be “outsourced” to the Supreme Court.

The court first considered whether it could obtain the Lord Advocate’s ‘reference’, before turning to whether the bill relates to a reserved matter – and concluded that it does.

In October, Lord Reed warned it would be “several months” before the verdict would be handed down.

However, he said today that the trial had moved faster than expected because the judges were unanimous and prioritized the importance of the case.

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