Scotland

Issues surrounding the vote for Scottish independence

In the 2014 referendum, Scots voted 55%-45% to stay in the UK, but both Brexit and the UK government’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis have fueled calls for a second vote.

Sturgeon said next year’s vote would be advisory rather than self-executing, and that more legislation would be needed from the British and Scottish parliaments to allow Scotland to gain independence.

Elections in May

Sturgeon’s ruling Scottish National Party has pledged to hold a referendum if pro-independence parties win a majority in the May elections for the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish National Party and the Scottish Green Party, which also support secession, won more than half of Parliament’s 129 seats and agreed to a power-sharing deal. They have a clear pro-independence majority to ensure that any bill passes a referendum.

Sturgeon said the bill would be published Tuesday, October 19, 2023 for referendum.

What does referendum mean?

If the Scots vote to leave, it will be the biggest shock to the UK since Irish independence a century ago – just as it is grappling with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, a cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation, and the consequences of Brexit, a move that Scottish voters have fiercely resisted. .

The nations of Great Britain have shared the same monarch since 1603, when King James VI of Scotland became James I of England. In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was established through a formal union.

Today, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland unites England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland into an economy worth $3 trillion annually.

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Section 30

Under the Scotland Act 1998 – which created the Scottish Parliament and delegated some powers of Westminster – all matters relating to the “union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England” are reserved to the Parliament of the United Kingdom in London.

Westminster could give the Scottish government the power to hold a referendum through a so-called “section 30” order, a process used to allow the 2014 referendum to go ahead.

Indeed, Johnson’s government says that gives him the authority over whether or not to hold a referendum in Scotland. Sturgeon said she wrote to him saying she was “ready and willing to negotiate the terms of Article 30 with him.”

Will approval be granted?

In January 2020, Johnson Sturgeon refused permission for another referendum, saying the 2014 vote was a “once in a generation” event, and he has repeatedly dismissed it since.

If he says “no” again, Sturgeon says there are already plans to ensure the Scottish Parliament can vote legally. She said Scotland’s chief law enforcement official had agreed to take the case to the UK’s Supreme Court on Tuesday to decide whether a referendum could legally be held.

Judge David Hope, former deputy chief justice of the Supreme Court, told Reuters that Scottish law would be a major constraint on the Scottish government. “They are trapped in a very carefully crafted law,” he told Reuters.

Others think it’s not very clear. “There are respectable arguments to say that the referendum bill would fall within the purview of delegated jurisdiction,” said Professor Eileen McCarg, an expert on constitutional law at Durham University.

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If the Supreme Court says no

Sturgeon said Scotland could not hold a referendum without a legal mandate, saying it would have no effect and would not be recognized by the international community.

She previously cited the case of Catalonia, which unsuccessfully declared its independence from Spain in 2017 after a referendum that judges declared illegal.

Instead, Sturgeon said the UK’s next national election, scheduled for 2024, would then be a de facto referendum on Scottish independence.

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