Sturgeon handed huge IndyRef2 boost as Supreme Court REJECTS bid to block SNP motion

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The court refused to make a preliminary ruling on her bid to put an end to her legal case, meaning a full trial must now take place. The UK Government had hoped to put a quick end to the SNP’s latest drive for independence asking the court to immediately throw out their request for a ruling on whether it was legal for Scotland to hold a referendum on quitting the UK.

Constitutional matters are reserved for Westminster, meaning a vote cannot be held without the approval of the House of Commons, however, Ms Sturgeon hoped the Supreme Court would agree it was in her power to hold a ballot if the result was merely “advisory” rather than binding.

Lord Stewart of Dirleton QC, the Prime Minister’s most senior adviser on Scots law, has urged the judges to reject the Scottish First Minister’s legal request on the basis that it was “premature”.

He argued that it was impossible to make a proper judgment on the legality of a referendum at this stage as a Referendum Bill was yet to even be introduced in the Holyrood Parliament.

Making its decision, the court said questions over whether the request for a legal review was premature will be considered at the same time as the full case later this year.

READ MORE: Sturgeon ramps up independence threat with new paper

Responding to the ruling, a UK Government spokesman said: “We appreciate the Supreme Court dealing with our application quickly.

“We will proceed to prepare our written case on the preliminary points we have noted, and on the substantive issue, to the timetable set out by the Court.

“On the question of legislative competence, the UK Government’s clear view remains that a Bill legislating for a referendum on independence would be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.”

Westminster remains confident that the Supreme Court will rule in its favour at the end of the full hearing.

Ms Sturgeon announced her intentions to hold a new referendum last month.

She outlined plans to carry out a vote on October 19, 2023.

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The SNP leader claimed the results of the Scottish Parliament elections last year gave her a mandate for a referendum as a majority of pro-independence MSPs were elected to Holyrood.

“Last May the people of Scotland said yes to an independence referendum by electing a clear majority of MSPs committed to that outcome,” she said at the time.

“The democratic decision was clear, two weeks ago the Scottish Government started the process of implementing that decision with the first in building a new Scotland series of papers.

“That paper presented compelling evidence of the stronger economic and social performance relative to the UK of a range of independent countries across Europe that are comparable to Scotland – that should be a lesson and inspiration to us.

“Scotland, over generations, has paid a price for not being independent, we have a Westminster Government we don’t vote for, imposing policies we don’t support, too often holding us back from fulfilling potential, that reality has rarely been starker than now.”

Responding to the Supreme Court’s ruling, a Scottish government spokesman said: “Whether the reference is accepted, how long it takes to determine, which matters the court considers and when and what judgment is arrived at are all for the court to determine.

“The reference is now before the Supreme Court, and the Court should be allowed to fulfil its function.”

The Supreme Court will hear the full case this autumn.



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