The Supreme Court is due to decide whether a second statutory referendum on Scottish independence can be held next year
The UK government has told the Supreme Court that the Scottish government does not have the “legislative competence” to hold a second legal referendum on independence.
The Supreme Court is preparing to rule on whether the vote – which the SNP has scheduled for October 19, 2023 – can legally go ahead after the decision was referred to the court by Scotland’s Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain.
The UK government remains strong on its stance that a second referendum should not take place and newly released court documents have revealed their arguments against the vote.
But what did it say, and will there be a vote?
What has the UK government told the Supreme Court?
The Scottish independence referendum will be decided by the Supreme Court, which will decide whether a valid vote can take place next year.
The UK Government has told the court that the bill in question “does not give rise to a ‘decentralization issue'”, adding that the court should not accept a reference to the Scotland Act 1998 as the Scottish Parliament has not introduced it or passed bill.
While Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish public had given a mandate to hold a second referendum, the UK government said the matter should be left to the Westminster government.
The case papers read: “It is submitted that the Scottish Parliament clearly does not have the power to legislate for an advisory referendum on Scotland’s independence from the UK.
“A referendum on Scottish independence clearly affects (at least) the reserved matters of the Union of the Kingdom of Scotland and England and the UK Parliament.
“This conclusion is unaffected by whether the referendum is advisory in its outcome or legally binding.”
Will a second Scottish independence referendum be held?
The SNP will have to await the Supreme Court’s ruling to know whether their plans for a second Scottish independence referendum are valid.
The court is scheduled to rule on the matter at the October hearing.
The SNP has also published its case before the Supreme Court, stating in case documents: “In short, the holding of a consultative referendum does not reduce the scope of the UK Parliament’s powers, nor does it in itself have any impact on the Union .
“Therefore, according to the applicant’s respectful submissions, any legislation to facilitate such a referendum does not refer to either the Union reservation or the UK Parliament.”
A UK Government spokesman said: “People across Scotland want their governments to work together on the issues that affect them and their families and not talk about another independence referendum.
“Today we have [10 August] released the papers we submitted to the Supreme Court and will present our case at the October hearing.
“In terms of legislative powers, the UK Government remains of the clear view that any bill that would provide for a referendum on independence would be outside the legislative powers of the Scottish Parliament.”