By Ben Kerrigan-
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Scottish parliament cannot hold a second referendum.
The UK’s highest court ruled that Holyrood cannot legislate on the matter, and that constitutional matters are reserved for the parliament in Westminster.
The ruling comes after first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she wanted a referendum to be held on 19 October next year.
The Scottish Government had argued that Holyrood should be able to bring forward legislation allowing a vote to be held.
The UK Government made the case that it would be outside the legislative competence of the Parliament to approve of a Scottish referendum.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that she respects the decision made by the court.
“While disappointed by it I respect ruling of @UKSupremeCourt – it doesn’t make law, only interprets it,” she wrote on Twitter following the verdict.
“A law that doesn’t allow Scotland to choose our own future without Westminster consent exposes as myth any notion of the UK as a voluntary partnership and makes the case for Indy.”
‘ “Scottish democracy will not be denied. Today’s ruling blocks one route to Scotland’s voice being heard on independence – but in a democracy our voice cannot and will not be silenced.
The latest push by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon involved holding an advisory referendum late next year, similar to the 2016 poll that resulted in Brexit. But the country’s top court agreed that even a non-legally binding vote would require oversight from Westminster, given its practical implications.
“A lawfully held referendum would have important political consequences relation to the Union and the United Kingdom Parliament,” Lord Reed said as he read the court’s judgment.
“It would either strengthen or weaken the democratic legitimacy of the Union and of the United Kingdom Parliament’s sovereignty over Scotland, depending on which view prevailed, and would either support or undermine the democratic credentials of the independence movement,” he said.
Sturgeon said she accepted the ruling on Wednesday but tried to frame the decision as another pillar in the argument for secession. “A law that doesn’t allow Scotland to choose our own future without Westminster consent exposes as myth any notion of the UK as a voluntary partnership & makes (a) case” for independence,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Scottish democracy will not be denied,” she said. “Today’s ruling blocks one route to Scotland’s voice being heard on independence – but in a democracy our voice cannot and will not be silenced.”
The holding of a referendum by the Scottish government would normally require a Section 30 request to be made to the UK Government to temporarily transfer the necessary powers from Westminster to Holyrood to allow a referendum to be held.
Scottish secretary Alister Jack said that people in Scotland want the UK and Scottish governments to be concentrating all attention on the issues that matter most to them.
He said: “We note and respect the unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court today.
“People in Scotland want both their governments to be concentrating all attention and resources on the issues that matter most to them.
“That’s why we are focused on issues like restoring economic stability, getting people the help they need with their energy bills and supporting our NHS.
“Today alone, 11.6 million UK pensioners – around one million in Scotland – are starting to receive up to £600 to help with their energy bills this winter.