Nicola Sturgeon will find out next week if she can hold a second Scottish independence referendum without Rishi Sunak’s approval. The Supreme Court has confirmed its judgment will be announced at 9.45am next Wednesday.
The Scottish Government asked the UK’s highest court to decide whether Holyrood could legislate for a fresh independence referendum while the move was opposed in Westminster.
The court heard legal arguments from the UK and Scottish governments during a two-day hearing in London last month.
The Scottish Government argued that a referendum would be within devolved powers, but the UK Government said it was a reserved matter.
The case centres on Holyrood’s proposed Scottish Independence Referendum Bill.
It comes after the Scottish First Minister set out plans to hold a second referendum on October 19 next year.
But Ms Sturgeon’s bid for another vote has been opposed by the Prime Minister and his predecessors.
The Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC, the Scottish Government’s top law officer, argued in court that Holyrood’s competence over the Bill was a “critically important question”.
She asked the judges to rule on its legislative competence, saying a majority of MSPs were elected in 2021 on a manifesto commitment to hold another referendum.
The SNP was allowed to intervene in a separate written submission to the court.
The UK Government’s legal representative, Sir James Eadie KC, argued it was “obvious” Holyrood does not have legislative competence.
He also argued the Bill was at too early a stage for the court to issue a ruling on.
The court will firstly address whether it will determine the “reference” from the Lord Advocate, before turning to the question of reserved matters.
It comes as SNP MP Mhairi Black today called on the UK Government to “stop denying democracy”.
Speaking in the Commons, she said: “Scotland’s block grant is being cut, our services are being eroded by Tory cuts, the economy is being undermined by Brexit and, as part of the UK, Scotland is facing the deepest recession in Europe and this Government’s response is more austerity, despite Scotland rejecting that premise for over 50 years.
“So will the minister and the rest of his disaster capitalist Tories get out of Scotland’s way and stop denying democracy and allow Scotland to choose its own path out of this nightmare?”
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack replied: “Well as (she) knows, the party that is denying democracy is the one that doesn’t accept the result of the referendum in 2014.”
Scots rejected breaking away from the UK in the 2014 referendum by 55 percent to 45 percent.