Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is pushing for Scots to be able to vote on independence for a second time on October 19, 2023. The Scottish National Party (SNP) are seeking a Supreme Court ruling on whether it can hold another independence referendum after Westminster refused to give permission.
Ms Sturgeon argues that whether a ballot should be allowed is an unresolved constitutional issue.
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If the court rules in favour, Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government would move quickly to pass the referendum bill.
However, if not, the next general election would become a “de facto referendum”, with the SNP standing on a single issue of independence.
The UK Government has said now is not the time to be discussing another independence referendum.
Westminster has accused the SNP of failing to give clear answers on an independent Scotland and warned attempts to rejoin the EU would result in a hard border.
Ministers argue Ms Sturgeon should be focusing on recovery from the pandemic, and improving public services, especially as the nation faces a cost of living crisis.
Tory leadership hopefuls Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have criticised Ms Sturgeon’s push for independence.
Both ruled out a second independence referendum at recent leadership hustings in Scotland, arguing that the issue was settled in the last ballot.
Business Minister Ivan McKee has revealed that the Scottish Government has plans for “five or six” new papers making a case for independence in the coming months.
He told the BBC’s Sunday Show, on August 21: “We have to be very very clear to make sure that we’re communicating with the people of Scotland exactly what we would do if we were an independent country.”
However, Alex Bell, special adviser to the Scottish Government between 2011 and 2013, said: “The Scottish Government’s legal challenge on holding indyref2 is a waste of time and money.”
Writing in The Sunday Times on August 21, he explained: “Since 2007, Nicola Sturgeon has known the law: it is Westminster’s call. Pursuing the matter after 15 years in office is a piece of theatre designed to disguise how the SNP has failed nationalists.”
He continued: “Put simply, the 2014 vote happened because the various players followed the law. The law has not changed since and neither has the advice.”
Former DUP leader and Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster has confirmed that a new pro-Union organisation, the Together UK Foundation, is being established.
She said: “We will bring mainstream pro-union voices from across the entire UK to highlight the benefits the Union brings to us all – mostly without us realising it.”
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