Scotland’s bid to be an independent nation after about 300 years of being together with the United Kingdom has suffered another setback.
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has ruled that Scotland cannot hold a new referendum on independence without the consent of the British Government.
In a unanimous verdict of the five Supreme Court justices read by President Robert Reed, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Parliament “does not have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence.”
“A Bill which makes provision for a referendum on independence-on ending the sovereignty of the Parliament of the United Kingdom over Scotland has more than a loose or consequential connection with the sovereignty of that Parliament”
“This Court was not asked, cannot be asked, to express a view on the political question of whether Scotland should become an independent country” the judgment read inter alia.
The ruling comes six weeks after pro-independence Scottish administration lawyers and that of the UK Conservative Government argued their cases before the Supreme Court Justices in London.
The Scottish Government is pushing for a new referendum by October next year to ask its citizens whether Scotland should remain with the UK or “be an Independent country.” However, the UK government refuses to approve the vote, saying that, the question was answered in a 2014 referendum where Scottish voters rejected independence by a margin of 55% to 45%.
What is the reaction of the Scottish Government?
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reacting to the ruling said she would respect the judgment, but noted that she has a democratic mandate from the Scottish people to hold a new session vote because there is an independence-supporting majority in the Scottish Parliament.
She also added that Scotland’s “democratic right to choose our own future” was at stake.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described the ruling as “clear and definitive”, urging both politicians in Scotland and in London to move on and focus on key issues affecting UK, especially the cost-of-living crisis.