Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), has said she wants to hold an independence referendum on October 19, 2023, but it must be legal and internationally recognised.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss and her predecessor Boris Johnson said they would not authorize any referendum, stressing that the 2014 vote in which Scots rejected ending the 300-year union by 55% to 45%. it happens once in a generation and should not be repeated.
However, the SNP argued that the 2016 vote for Britain to leave the European Union, opposed by a majority of Scottish voters, had changed things significantly.
The Supreme Court, Britain’s highest court which has jurisdiction over all civil cases within the UK, is now being referred to decide whether the Scottish Government can pass legislation to allow a second referendum to be held without the approval of the UK Parliament in London.
“It will probably be several months before we announce our decision,” Chief Justice Robert Reed said at the opening of two days of hearings, which he said were the “tip of the iceberg” in the case.
Under the Scotland Act 1998, which created the Scottish Parliament and transferred some powers to it from Westminster, all matters relating to the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and Wales are reserved for the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The British government argues that this means it is clear that only it can approve any referendum.