Indyref2 court ruling bid is rejected by judge

A judge has rejected a court bid to assess whether the Scottish Parliament can stage an independence referendum without approval from Westminster.

Nationalists want a repeat of the 2014 referendum
Nationalists want a repeat of the 2014 referendum

The Court of Session found that the case brought by independence supporter Martin Keatings was "hypothetical and premature" but did not rule out the prospect of making a judgement on the issue in future.

The case was brought before the court with Mr Keatings claiming that voters needed clarity on the issue ahead of the Holyrood elections in May. The SNP has said that a pro-independence majority will be a mandate for a second vote on leaving the UK.

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But judge Lady Carmichael states in today's ruling that there is "no limit" to the number of issues about which politicians might make proposals in the lead up to elections.

"It does not follow that advice from the court is needed about them to permit voters to exercise their democratic rights," she states

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"The action is for these reasons, hypothetical, academic, and premature, and the pursuer lacks standing to bring it."

She disposed of the action without making a ruling on the legality of whether Holyrood could stage such a vote or not.

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Constitutional issues, like holding referendums, are generally regarded to be under the remit of the UK Government.

The SNP's recent 11-point road map to independence suggests that a pro-independence majority after the election on May 6 could see the Scottish Government press ahead legislation for a referendum and says that it would be up to the UK Government to seek to block this through the courts.

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The ruling does leave the door open to the courts to make a ruling in such a situation, but states that the courts may "intervene only when they need to do so to fulfil their function as guardians of the rule of law.

"The courts will clearly intervene to determine allegations of unlawfulness," it adds.

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SNP Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil has been among those calling for a more aggressive approach from the leadership on a second referendum.

“No guarantee at all that there can be a Independence referendum in the next 5years of the Scottish Parliament,” he tweeted after the ruling.

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