The fight for Scottish Independence was dealt a significant blow yesterday (23 November) after the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Scotland’s government is not allowed to hold a second independence referendum without the agreement of Westminster.
The last referendum in which Scots voted on whether to separate from the UK was held on 18 September 2014. “No” won with 2,001,926 votes (55.3 per cent).
Since the narrow vote for the UK to leave the European Union in 2016, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been campaigning for a second referendum on independence, known as "indyref2", particularly as Scotland strongly backed staying in the EU.
It was an issue that arose in the 2016 Scottish parliament elections that occurred just before the UK voted in the EU referendum. The SNP argued that “Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will” would justify a second vote on independence.
In response to yesterday’s ruling, Sturgeon said that while the verdict closed one door, it means the next general election will be a “de facto referendum” that will show that the majority of Scotland supports independence.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak thanked Lord Reed and his fellow judges for their “clear and definitive ruling” at PMQs, while Sturgeon accused the government of “democracy denial”.
Pro-independence protests broke out in cities and towns across Scotland last night. Organised by Time for Scotland, the group claimed 15 events were being held in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee, Greenock, Inverness, Inverurie, Portree, Kirkwall, Lochgilphead, Selkirk, Dumfries, Fort William and Stirling.
One of the group’s co-organisers, journalist Lesley Riddoch, explained: “We have no argument with the judges. Thanks to them, the world now sees Scotland’s predicament. We are trapped in a union with no lawful escape. And the solution – as the judges have made clear – is not legal but political.”
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