Scottish independence: UK Government submits case against referendum plans to Supreme Court

The UK Government has submitted its argument in a case that could allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate for another independence referendum.

Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC referred a prospective referendum Bill to the Supreme Court last month to ascertain if it was within the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

Oral arguments are due to be heard in the case in October, but the Advocate General for Scotland Lord Stewart QC submitted the case against the Bill being within the legislative competence of Holyrood on Tuesday.

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Nicola Sturgeon speaks on Scottish independence. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

It is understood the UK Government has asked for the court’s permission to publish the submission. That submission could be published later this week.

A spokeswoman for the UK Government said: “People across Scotland want both their governments to be working together on the issues that matter to them and their families, not talking about another independence referendum.

“We have today submitted our written case to the Supreme Court, in accordance with its timetable.

“On the question of legislative competence, the UK Government’s clear view remains that a Bill legislating for a referendum on independence would be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.”

In its submission to the court, submitted last month, the Scottish Government leaned heavily on any future referendum not being “self-executing”, meaning it would be purely advisory and only meant as a way to ascertain the views of the Scottish people.

The SNP have also made an attempt to intervene in the case, arguing that – as a public body – it would be “fair, just and reasonable” for the party to make arguments to the Court.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of pro-Union campaign group Scotland in Union, said: “This costly exercise is entirely down to the SNP’s obsession with its negative campaign to leave the UK, when the focus on government should instead be on the cost-of-living crisis, jobs and the economy, and the future of our NHS and schools.

“The SNP is ignoring the will of the people of Scotland as it pursues its aim of dividing communities.

“Scotland’s positive future is as part of the UK, and the people of Scotland want our governments to work together to unite communities and focus on the real challenges ahead of us.”

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