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by Louise Wilson
30 November 2023
Alba propose vote on devolving power to hold independence referendum to Holyrood

Ash Regan defected from the SNP to Alba in October | Alamy

Alba propose vote on devolving power to hold independence referendum to Holyrood

A referendum on whether the Scottish Parliament should have the power to call an independence referendum has been proposed by Alba’s sole MSP, Ash Regan.

Publishing the proposal on Thursday, the party believe it will help to “break through the constitutional logjam”.

The Supreme Court ruled last year that the Scottish Parliament did not have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence as the constitution in a reserved matter.

The case was taken to the court by then first minister Nicola Sturgeon, who had originally proposed a fresh vote would take place last October.

Alba is now calling for a vote on whether Westminster should devolve this power to the Scottish Parliament permanently.

It would seek to hold such a referendum on 19 September 2024.

Regan said: “There is nothing to stop our parliament proposing a referendum which we believe would be within competence, and that is to ask the people whether they believe the powers of the parliament should be extended to include the right to legislate for and negotiate independence.

“That is what my proposed new draft bill does and I intend to canvass public and parliamentary support for it now. It is time for the independence movement to offer our supporters the real prospect of progress.”

Her Westminster colleague Neale Hanvey currently has a bill before the House of Commons that seeks to transfer the power to legislate for a Scottish independence referendum to Holyrood.

The 2014 referendum was able to take place after a section 30 order was granted by Westminster, which temporarily gave the Scottish Parliament the power to hold one.

Requests for the UK Government to make another section 30 order were made by Sturgeon on several occasions, though all of them were denied.

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