The UK Supreme Court on Tuesday began considering the legality of Scottish moves to hold a new referendum on independence next year without the consent of the government in London, IgbereTV reports
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s nationalist government in Edinburgh wants a fresh vote on the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
On Monday, she told her Scottish National Party’s annual conference the hearing would not have been necessary if the UK government in Westminster respected Scottish democracy.
“But Westminster has no such respect. That means this issue was always destined to end up in court sooner or later — better, in my view, that it is sooner,” she said.
“If the court decides in the way we hope it does, on 19th October next year there will be an independence referendum.”
The Supreme Court hearings will see senior lawyers wrangle over the powers of the devolved parliament in Edinburgh versus Westminster.
Opening the proceedings, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain, Scotland’s top law officer, said the issue of Scottish independence was a “live and significant one in Scottish electoral politics”.
“The question of whether such a poll is within the competence of the Scottish parliament… is an issue that I invite this court to finally resolve,” she said.
The SNP ran in the 2021 Scottish parliamentary elections on a promise to hold a legally valid referendum after the Covid crisis subsided.
It now wants to go ahead but the UK government, which has to give approval under the Scotland Act 1998, has not given permission.
New UK Prime Minister Liz Truss in a television interview this month reiterated her view that the last referendum in 2014 was a once-in-a-generation event