The Scottish independence movement has been dealt a blow by the Supreme Court

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks at a press conference to launch the second bill of independence at Bute House on July 14, 2022 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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LONDON – Britain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday told the Scottish government it could not hold a new independence referendum without the UK government’s consent.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Lord Reed, said in a broadcast speech that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate on matters that fall under the purview of the UK Parliament, including the union.

In a referendum held in September 2014, Scotland voted 55% to 45% to remain in the United Kingdom.

The pro-independence Scottish National Party has become a major political force by winning the majority in the Scottish Parliament in the 2011 elections.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, who has been Scotland’s first minister since November 2014, said her party was elected on a “clear promise to give the people of Scotland a choice of independence”.

Speaking after the decision, Sturgeon said she was disappointed by the decision, but respected and accepted it.

However, the debate on whether to hold another referendum is still undecided and the party will continue to push for Scottish independence and look for ways to hold another referendum, he said.

Sturgeon said: “Our path to independence must be legitimate and democratic. And as is becoming increasingly clear, achieving independence is not just desirable, it is essential that Scotland escapes the Brexit disaster, the damaging policies of governments we didn’t vote for and the low growth that has left us behind. , an economic model of high inequality.”

“But we must be clear today that the Supreme Court does not make the law – it interprets it and applies it,” he said.

He said he was not commenting on whether there was a democratic mandate for the referendum, which the court called “indisputable”.

Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP in the House of Commons, said the government was “in denial[ing] Democracy to the people of Scotland’ and to continue to block the referendum would mean that ‘the idea of ​​the United Kingdom as a voluntary union of nations is now dead and buried’.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded: “We respect the clear and definitive decision of the UK High Court.”

“I think the people of Scotland want us to work together to solve the major problems we face collectively, whether it’s the economy, the NHS or supporting Ukraine. Now is the time for politicians to work together and that’s what the government will do.”

He also said that the Scottish Parliament has strong devolved powers.

Sturgeon got permission from the Scottish Parliament for another referendum in 2017 after the terms of any Brexit deal became clear, but this was blocked by then UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

The SNP currently holds 64 of the 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, with the remaining seats split between the Scottish Conservative and Unionist, Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties; It holds 44 of the 650 seats in the British Parliament in Westminster.

After the Brexit vote in 2016, one of his main arguments was that Scotland voted to remain in the European Union by 62% to 38%. Sturgeon said her party would immediately seek to rejoin the bloc as an independent country alongside Scotland, although questions remain over issues such as trade and freedom of movement and whether joining the euro should be a criterion for membership.

Last month, the party published an economic prospectus which claimed Scotland’s economy would be “stronger and fairer” after independence.