Scotland’s government will not be able to hold a second referendum on independence without the approval of the British Parliament, the UK Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday (23), in a blow to Scots’ hopes of holding a new vote in 2024.
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), had announced earlier this year that she intended to hold a consultative vote on secession in October next year, stressing that the vote should be legal. and recognized internationally.
After the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish PM could not consult without the British Parliament’s approval, Sturgeon repeated his pledge to base his campaign in the upcoming UK general election, scheduled for 2024, exclusively on a platform on the possible secession of Scotland – turning the vote into a “de facto” referendum.
“While I am obviously very disappointed in this, I respect and accept the judgment of the court,” Sturgeon said Wednesday. “We must and will find another democratic, legal and constitutional means by which the Scottish people can express their will. In my opinion, this can only be through an election,” she said.
In the referendum held in 2014, the Scots rejected, by 55% to 45%, the end of the country’s union with England, which has lasted more than 300 years. Nationalists, however, argue that the 2016 Brexit vote, which a majority of Scottish voters opposed, changed the picture.
However, the British government in London has repeatedly said it would not grant permission for another plebiscite, saying it should be a once-in-a-generation event.
After the denials, the Scottish government’s highest court official asked the Supreme Court whether the country could pass legislation paving the way for a second advisory referendum without the approval of the UK parliament, but the unanimous verdict of five Justices of the Court was that no.
“The Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate on a referendum on Scottish independence,” said Robert Reed, chief justice of the British court.
Nationalists seek route to referendum
Under the Scotland Act 1998, which created the Scottish Parliament and delegated some powers to Westminster, all matters related to the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England are reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The court concluded that any referendum, even a consultative one, would be one of those issues.
Sturgeon said it was now a matter of “basic democratic rights”.
“Let’s be absolutely blunt: a supposed partnership where one partner is denied the right to choose a different future, or even to ask the question, cannot be described as voluntary or even a partnership in any way,” Sturgeon said. . 🇧🇷
The left-wing SNP has dominated Scottish politics for more than a decade and won an overwhelming majority of Scottish seats in the 2019 British election. ignored.
London argues it is wrong to hold another independence vote during a cost of living and energy crisis as the war in Ukraine rages on and the country recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
Independence activists say it is up to Scotland to decide how to respond to these important questions, as the right-wing British government is unpopular in Scotland, where approval for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party is currently at around 15%, according to with the latest polls.
More than a dozen pro-independence demonstrations are planned across Scotland and parts of the continent on Wednesday – the biggest expected to be outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, where supporters will claim democracy is being denied.
Britain’s Minister for Scotland, Alister Jack, said the British government respects the court’s decision and will work constructively with the decentralized Scottish administration to deal with the main challenges facing the country, such as the economy and service. of health.
Should there be a second referendum, polls suggest voters will remain divided. A vote would be very difficult to call and would raise questions such as which currency an independent Scotland would use or whether the country could rejoin the European Union. Critics say Sturgeon and the SNP failed to adequately answer any of the questions.
“Achieving independence is not just desirable; it is essential if Scotland is to escape the disaster of Brexit, the damage of policies imposed by governments we did not vote for and the low-growth, high-inequality economic model that is holding us back,” said Sturgeon.
“I think it’s safe to predict that these won’t be my last words on the matter,” he added.
Source: CNN Brasil