The Supreme Court of Great Britain has ruled that the Scottish government cannot remain unilateral Second referendum On whether to leave the UK, a blow to independence campaigners will be welcomed by the pro-Westminster Unionist establishment.
The court unanimously rejected an attempt by the Scottish National Party (SNP) to force a vote next October, as it did not have the approval of the UK Parliament.
But there is no possibility of this decision. A heated debate On independence, which has dominated British politics for a decade.
Scotland last held a vote on the issue with Westminster approval in 2014, when voters rejected the prospect of independence by 55% to 45%.
The pro-independence SNP has nevertheless dominated politics north of the border in the intervening years, at the expense of traditional, pro-union groups. Successive SNP leaders have promised to give Scottish voters another chance to vote, especially since the UK voted to leave the EU in 2016.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s latest push includes holding an advisory referendum later next year, similar to the 2016 poll that led to Brexit. But the country’s highest court agreed that even an illegal binding vote would require Westminster oversight, given its practical implications.
“A lawfully held referendum would have important political consequences for the Union and for the UK Parliament,” Lord Reid said in reading the court’s decision.
“This will either strengthen or weaken the democratic legitimacy of the Union and the UK Parliament’s autonomy over Scotland, depending on which view prevails, and either the democratic credentials of the independence movement,” he said. will support or undermine,” he said.
Sturgeon said he accepted the decision on Wednesday, but tried to frame the decision as another pillar in the argument for secession. “A law which does not allow Scotland to choose its own future without the consent of Westminster, hypothetically exposes the concept of voluntary partnership of the United Kingdom and makes (a) case for independence. “, he wrote on Twitter.
He said that Scottish democracy will not be denied. “Today’s rulers block an avenue for Scottish independence to be voiced – but in a democracy our voices cannot and will not be silenced.”
England and Scotland have been in a political union since 1707, but many Scots have long resisted what they see as a one-sided relationship dominated by England. Scotland’s voters have historically rejected the ruling Conservative Party at the ballot box and voted overwhelmingly – but in vain – against Brexit, with arguments over the issue intensifying over the past decade.
Since 1999, Scotland has had devolved government, which means that many, but not all, decisions are made in the SNP-led Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh.