The Scottish Parliament does not have the power to hold a second independence referendum, the Supreme Court has ruled.
Under First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s plans, Scots voters would have decided whether to leave the union on October 19 next year.
However, the court said its judges were “unanimous” in their decision that only the UK Government could consent to a referendum.
And, as things stand, it’s highly unlikely Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will agree to that any time soon.
So what happens now?
What was the case about?
The Scottish Government wants there to be another independence referendum – but the UK Government is opposed to one.
It went to court to find out whether Holyrood could bypass Westminster and hold one anyway.
The difference between now and the 2014 indyref is that the UK and Scottish governments agreed over its terms.
What’s the reaction to the court ruling?
Nicola Sturgeon said failing to let the Scottish Parliament hold a referendum “exposes the myth the UK is a voluntary partnership”.
The First Minister admitted she was “disappointed” but accepted the ruling, adding that “Scottish democracy will not be denied”.
Scottish Tories leader Douglas Ross said he “welcomed the unanimous judgement”, adding: “We know that the majority of Scots do not want another independence referendum.”
The UK Government is yet to make a statement.
Will there be an indyref2?
If there is, it’s now extremely unlikely to take place on October 19.
That would need the Prime Minister to agree very quickly, and no one expects that to happen.
Nicola Sturgeon said the SNP will now view the next general election – due at the end of 2024 or early 2025 – would be a ‘de facto’ referendum, with candidates standing on a single issue of independence.
However, she added that it would be for the party executive to confirm the detail.
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