an independence referendum impossible without the London agreement
The Scottish government does not have the power to organize a new independence referendum without the agreement of London, concluded Wednesday, November 23 the British Supreme Court. Explaining his verdict, the president of the country’s highest court, Robert Reed, said the judges had unanimously concluded that such a vote would have consequences for the union of the kingdom and therefore requires an agreement from the central government. in London.
Scottish separatist Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon had already expressed her desire to organize a second referendum on this subject. She had also revealed the question “Should Scotland be an independent country? »which was due to be put to a vote by Scots on October 19, 2023.
Scotland ‘will not be silenced’
Reacting to the Middlesex Guildhall verdict (seat of the Court), Nicola Sturgeon said to herself « disappointed ». “While I respect the Supreme Court’s judgment – it does not make the law, it interprets itshe said on Twitter. A law that does not allow Scotland to voluntarily choose its own future without Westminster’s approval exposes the myth of a UK as a voluntary partnership. »
‘Today’s verdict blocks a road for Scotland’s voice to be heard on independence – but in a democracy our voice cannot and will not be silenced’she added in an ambiguous message, specifying that she will address the Scots at the end of the morning.
The failure of 2014
The latter have already refused to 55% in 2014 to leave the United Kingdom. But in the eyes of the SNP separatists in power in Edinburgh, Brexit, which 62% of voters in the province opposed, since intervened, is a game-changer. They want Scotland to rejoin the European Union as an independent state.
But the central government in London strongly opposes any further independence referendums and sees the 2014 vote as closing the debate for a generation.
Anticipating a legal tussle with the government in London, Nicola Sturgeon took the lead in appealing to the Supreme Court to determine whether the Scottish Parliament has the power to legislate on the issue without the agreement of the British government, on an issue on which the Scots are particularly divided according to the polls.
The independence leader believes that she has a “indisputable mandate” to organize such a vote, in particular because of the majority the SNP has in the local parliament.
“Fundamental and inalienable right”
At last month’s hearing at the Supreme Court, lawyers representing the London government argued that the Scottish government cannot decide on its own whether to hold a referendum: Edinburgh must seek permission, as it is a a matter reserved for the central government. Opposite, Scotland’s highest magistrate, Dorothy Bain, argued that “the right to self-determination is a fundamental and inalienable right”.
Nicola Sturgeon has already warned that she will make the next general election in the United Kingdom, which must be held by January 2025, a de facto referendum on the question of independence. During the 2021 local elections, she had promised to organize a legally valid referendum once the page of the Covid-19 pandemic was turned.