Scotland cannot hold a new independence referendum without the approval of the UK government, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday (23 November), dealing a serious blow to the independence movement.
The Scottish Parliament does not have the power under Britain’s decentralization plan to hold a referendum on independence, as such legislation would affect the future of the UK’s union, a court ruled on Wednesday, reserving the matter for Westminster.
The decision leads to a dead end but provides “clarity” about the legal position, said Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister. Sturgeon’s government plans to hold a referendum in October 2023 and has begun publishing a series of papers outlining the political priorities of an independent Scotland.
Sturgeon said, “Today’s decision blocks a way for Scotland to make its voice heard on the issue of independence – but in a democracy our voices cannot and will not be silenced.”
The Scottish government has ruled out holding a Catalan-style referendum without Westminster’s approval, with Sturgeon pledging that the path to independence must be “legal and democratic”.
He said the next UK general election, expected in 2024, would be treated as a de facto referendum on independence.
“The next national election in Scotland is the UK general election – and therefore the first and most obvious opportunity to hold a real referendum,” she said.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) won 48 of the 59 Scottish constituencies represented in the House of Commons. Meanwhile, the Alba Party, led by former SNP minister Alex Salmond, split from the SNP, leading to a split in the pro-independence vote. The SNP won 48 per cent of the vote in last year’s Scottish general election.
The SNP is now expected to decide the details of this approach at a special party conference in early 2023. However, there is no guarantee that the UK government will accept the results of the next general election at Westminster as a mandate for Scottish independence.
“A pro-independence majority is essential for Scotland – or any other country – to be independent,” it added. [Sturgeon] Added.
Public opinion on independence has fluctuated since the 2014 referendum, and calls for a second referendum grew louder after the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016, despite Scotland remaining in the union for almost two years. Voted in its favor by a one-to-one majority. , Most opinion polls this year have shown a slight lead for Scots living in the UK.
Following the ruling, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the SNP should “give up their referendum obsession”.
[Bearbeitet von Nathalie Weatherald]
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