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by Jenni Davidson
10 May 2021
Michael Gove refuses to rule out court action over second independence referendum

Michael Gove - Image credit: Victoria Jones/PA

Michael Gove refuses to rule out court action over second independence referendum

Michael Gove has refused to rule out taking the Scottish Government to court if it pushes ahead with legislation for a second independence referendum in the Scottish Parliament.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said other people might want to speculate on those questions, but the UK Government’s focus was on the recovery.

The question followed an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, where Gove was asked by the presenter whether he would take Nicola Sturgeon to court to stop a second independence referendum and he answered: “No.”

Challenged in a media briefing if he was “expressly ruling out” Supreme Court action if Holyrood legislated for indyref2 , Gove said he was “not getting into the whole question of courts and litigation and all the rest of it”.

He added: “If we start theorising in that area, then we're sucking oxygen out of the room, where we should all be concentrating on recovery.

“So other people will, I'm sure, want to speculate or theorise about these questions.

“But to my mind, every second spent asking questions about the Supreme Court is a second wasted when it comes to concentrating on the issues at hand.”

Referring to a comment he made on the Andrew Marr Show that if he walked down Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, no one would be asking him about a Supreme Court challenge, Gove said he had in fact gone shopping on Sauchiehall Street on Sunday and “the only people who mentioned the referendum were those people who came up and said ‘we absolutely don’t need to go there’”.

He said he had been congratulated by one voter, who thanked him and said he “didn’t want another independence referendum just now”.

Asked again whether that meant he was not ruling out court action, Gove replied: “As I say, I'm not thinking about it. I'm not going there.

“We're concentrating on recovery in the NHS, recovery in the economy, recovery in education, recovery in the criminal justice system. That is our focus.”

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