UK Supreme Court says Scotland can’t hold independence referendum

UK Supreme Court says Scotland can't hold independence referendum
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LONDON (AP) — The Scottish Parliament does not have the power to hold a referendum on independence without the consent of the British government, dashing hopes of a second vote next year on whether Scots want to leave Britain.

The decision was handed down on Wednesday by Britain’s High Court, which ruled that the Scottish Parliament cannot legislate on the matter.

The court sided with the British government, which argued that on “fundamental issues” such as the fate of the union, the power rests with the British Parliament sitting in the Palace of Westminster in London.

The British government, under Prime Ministers Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and now Rishi Sunak, has opposed a second referendum.

Scotland’s leader seeks a new independence vote in October 2023

The government allowed a referendum in 2014, in which a majority of Scots voted to remain in the UK, by a margin of 55 to 45 percent.

The question of independence was complicated two years later in the June 2016 Brexit vote, in which Scots strongly backed staying in the European Union, 62 percent to 38 percent.

Johnsond argues that the 2014 referendum was a “once in a generation” vote and that the issue was resolved.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Sunak called the court’s ruling “clear and final” and said Scottish leadership should focus on more pressing challenges such as fixing the NHS and helping the economy.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, had been pushing for a referendum in October next year. Sturgeon heads the Scottish National Party, the country’s most-voted party, which is seeking independence, and says there is an “undisputed mandate” to have another vote.

His government has laid out in reports why it believes Scotland should now, more than ever, be separated from the UK. Among them? Then Scotland could rejoin the European Union.

after the ruling Sturgeon issued a statementsaying he respected the Supreme Court, but adding: “It doesn’t make laws, it just interprets them.”

In a tweet, Sturgeon said: “a law that 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 association and defends Indy”, shorthand for a second referendum.

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

At a news conference, Sturgeon said the upcoming general election, scheduled for no later than January 2025, should serve as a “de facto referendum” on independence. Exactly how that would work remains unclear.

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