Scotland’s most senior lawyer has argued it is in the public interest for the Supreme Court to determine whether Holyrood has the power to hold a referendum.
It comes after the Lord Advocate Dororthy Bain published the written case to the UK’s highest court.
The Scottish Government has stated its intention to hold a referendum on Scottish independence in October next year.
The case being made to the Supreme Court is seeking to establish whether the Scottish Parliament has the power to do so without the consent of Westminster.
A UK Government spokesperson said that it is preparing its written case.
“People across Scotland want both their governments to be working together on the issues that matter to them and their families, not talking about another independence referendum,” they said.
“We preparing our written case on the preliminary points we have noted, as well as the substantive issue, and will submit them to the Court in accordance with its timetable.
“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.”
Scottish Labour’s constitution spokesperson Sarah Boyack claimed it is a “dereliction of duty” to hold a referendum when bills are soaring.
“It is for the Supreme Court to consider these issues and provide an answer once and for all about where these powers lie,” she said.
“The SNP and the Tories have both spent years speculating about a referendum in a bid to stoke division and distract from their failures in government.
“Yet, the fact remains whether or not the government can hold a referendum, it is a complete dereliction of duty to do so while bills are soaring, the NHS is in crisis, and people can’t afford to put food on the table.
“The SNP need to stop trying to tear communities apart, and start using the powers they already have to build a better future for Scotland.”
The Scottish Conservatives’ constitution spokesman Donald Cameron said that the First Minister’s “relentless obsession” with breaking up the UK “must end”.
“The SNP’s self-indulgent push for another divisive referendum is the worst possible priority at this time,” said Cameron.
“We already know the Lord Advocate isn’t confident in the Scottish Government’s own arguments about the legality of the referendum bill, and SNP ministers didn’t allow her to come to the Scottish Parliament and answer questions from MSPs before the summer recess.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s relentless obsession with trying to break up the United Kingdom must end.
“She needs to stop playing these political games. Ordinary Scots want her fully focused on tackling the global cost-of-living crisis, addressing record high A&E waiting times, and accelerating our post-pandemic recovery.
“Instead, she is typically creating constitutional grievances to deflect from her own record of failure, and divide us all over again.”
You can read the written case set out by the Lord Advocate here.
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