It’s from Angus Robertson, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution. He argues that even if the Supreme Court says the Scottish government has no legal right to hold another independence referendum, it should have the democratic right to call such a vote.
Hello. We will soon find out if the Supreme Court will rule that the Scottish government has the power to hold a second independence referendum. The first, in 2014, saw Scots vote to stay in the UK by 55% to 45%, which was much closer than many people would have predicted in the months and years before the vote. It was the UK’s closest break since leaving Ireland 100 years ago. Naturally, there is plenty of interest in whether Scotland will be allowed to try again.
As an SNP MP Angus McNeil points out, there are three possible outcomes today.
According to the BBC Nick Eardleythe Scottish government privately believes his chances of winning are only 20%.
But that sounds optimistic, for at least two reasons. First, to win, the Scottish government must clear two legal hurdles. The UK government has argued that the Supreme Court should not even hear the case because the Scottish parliament has yet to pass its referendum bill. The Scottish government must first convince the Supreme Court that the issue is justiciable, before also persuading it that Scotland has the right to hold the referendum.
Second, when the UK parliament passed the Scottish Act, the UK government made it clear that the legislation was not intended to give the Scottish parliament control over constitutional matters. The Scottish government is trying to circumvent this by arguing that a referendum would only be ‘advisory’ (as it would require separate legislation to declare independence). It may be confusing to people who have heard nationalists argue for years that a referendum would settle the issue, and it’s not an argument the Supreme Court justices seemed to find compelling when they heard the case. in October.
At the time, Lord Reed, President of the Supreme Court, said it would take them “a few months” to reach a decision. The fact that they are handing down their judgment six weeks later suggests that they had no trouble taking sides, and – again – this could imply that they are unwilling to make a decision that would upset the British constitution.
Yet, you never know.
This is my colleague Libby Brooks preview story.
And here is his Q&A on the case.
Here is the program for the day.
9:45 a.m.: The Supreme Court hands down its judgment in the case of whether the Scottish government is entitled to hold a referendum on independence.
9:45 a.m.: Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, testifies before the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee.
12 p.m.: Rishi Sunak takes on Keir Starmer in PMQ.
3 p.m.: Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, gives evidence to the Commons Treasury Committee about the Autumn Declaration.
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