The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UKSC) has unanimously rejected a bid by Scotland’s government to hold a fresh referendum on independence, saying Edinburgh cannot do it without Westminster’s consent.
On Wednesday, the UKSC’s President Lord Reed ruled that the Scottish Parliament did not have the power to legislate on matters reserved to the British Parliament, including the Union, unanimously rejecting the bid by the Scottish National Party (SNP) to force such a vote in October 2023.
“A lawfully-held referendum would have important political consequences in relation to the Union and the United Kingdom Parliament,” he said.
“It would either strengthen or weaken the democratic legitimacy of the Union and of the United Kingdom Parliament’s sovereignty over Scotland, depending on which view prevailed, and would either support or undermine the democratic credentials of the independence movement.”
At the end of the summary of the court’s judgment, Reed said the “proposed bill has more than a loose or consequential connection with the reserved matters of the Union of Scotland and England and the sovereignty of the United Kingdom parliament.”
Following broadcast remarks by Reed, First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the SNP Nicola Sturgeon said in a speech she was disappointed by the decision but respected and accepted it, trying to frame the ruling as another pillar in the argument for secession.
“A law that doesn’t allow Scotland to choose our own future without Westminster consent exposes as myth any notion of the UK as a voluntary partnership & makes (a) case” for independence,” Sturgeon tweeted.