Scottish independence: UK Government submits case to Supreme Court
The UK Government has submitted its written case to the Supreme Court over whether the Scottish Government can legislate for a second referendum on Scottish independence.
Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain has made a reference to the court, asking it to a rule on a matter which is of “fundamental constitutional and public importance”.
But the Advocate General for Scotland, Keith Stewart, has argued that any bill for a referendum would be beyond the competence of the Scottish Parliament.
The hearing is set to take place in London on 11 and 12 October.
The UK Government had previously said the case should be thrown out before arguments are heard, saying it would be “premature” because the bill has not yet completed its passage through parliament – nor even formally introduced.
But the court said it must consider the Advocate General’s position, as well as how it should answer Bain’s query if it decided it was appropriate to accept it.
A UK Government spokesperson said: “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.”
The case has brought by Bain at the request of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is currently aiming to hold a referendum on Scottish independence in October 2023.
The UK government has so far refused to grant a Section 30 order which would transfer the power to hold that vote to the Scottish Parliament, but the Scottish Government believes it could hold one without a Section 30 order because it would be advisory.
The SNP last week applied to intervene in the case.
Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe