The United Kingdom's Supreme Court on Wednesday (November 23) ruled that Scotland does not have the power to hold a new referendum on independence without the consent of the British government.
It is a huge setback for Scotland's nationalist government's push to hold a second referendum next year. The Scottish government wants to hold a referendum next October with the question "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
What did the court say? The court, while giving the judgment, said that laws that created the Scottish Parliament in 1999 clearly say that Scotland not have the power to legislate on areas of the constitution, including the union between Scotland and England, reported the BBC.
The 2014 referendum: Scotland has been trying to break away from the United Kingdom for a long time now. A referendum was done in September 2014, that saw Scottish voters reject independence by a margin of 55% to 45%.
Scotland's response: First Minister and Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon said she respected the ruling but was "disappointed". If Scotland cannot "choose our own future without Westminster consent", the idea of the UK as a voluntary partnership was exposed as a "myth", she tweeted.
1/ While disappointed by it I respect ruling of @UKSupremeCourt - it doesn't make law, only interprets it.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) November 23, 2022
A law that doesn't allow Scotland to choose our own future without Westminster consent exposes as myth any notion of the UK as a voluntary partnership & makes case for Indy
Why Scotland wants freedom now? Even though the UK government says that the referendum in 2014 settled the question on Scotland's freedom, Edinburgh feels that this has changed since UK's departure from the European Union.
Sturgeon and her party feels that since most voters in Scotland were against Brexit, there should be another referendum on independence.
Britain's response: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the court's ruling was "clear and definitive." He urged politicians in Scotland and Britain to focus on more pressing issues.
"The people of Scotland want us to be working on fixing the major challenges that we collectively face, whether that's the economy, supporting the NHS, or indeed supporting Ukraine," Sunak said.
One-sided relationship? Scotland and Britain have been in a political union since 1707. But many in Scotland feel that Britain holds the real power in this relationship. The voters in Scotland had voted heavily against the Brexit but all in vain as the UK decided on its behalf to leave the European Union.
Scotland has had its own parliament and government since 1999 and makes its own policies on public health, education, and other matters but the UK-wide government in London controls matters such as defence and fiscal policy, reported AP.