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Sturgeon announces a new Scottish independence referendum for October 19, 2023

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Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has given the green light for what is expected to be Britain’s most intense legal and political battle in the next year and a half. The nationalist Scottish National Party (SNP) government has already drafted new legislation on Scotland’s independence referendum, setting a date for the next consultation: 19 October 2023. “Should Scotland be an independent country?” It will be the same question as in 2014 be. At the time, 55% of voters opposed secession from the UK, compared to 45% who supported it. The vote will be consultative, Sturgeon explained.

After this referendum, which divided the legislature for many months and put David Cameron’s Conservative government under pressure, came Brexit. A stab in the back for many Scots who had voted overwhelmingly against and, just two years earlier, had been threatened with an incurable and painful exit from the EU if they opted for secession. And after Brexit, a pandemic that, for many of his critics, has created an enormous distance between what appears to be a serious and effective Sturgeon and what is publicly a careless and irresponsible Johnson. In May this year, the Scottish National Party won a resounding victory in regional elections with a program that promised a new referendum. It was a seat away from an absolute majority, but with the backing of the Greens, who also defended the need for a new consultation, it guaranteed the vote would take place before the legislature was exhausted.

The path mapped out by Sturgeon is more of an order than a certainty. The prime minister, who has always been suspicious of the tragic end to which Catalonia’s push for independence has led, has not stopped promising that the new referendum would always be legal. “I am committed to ensuring a process that allows the people of Scotland to express their yes, no or indecisiveness in a legal and constitutional referendum, so that the majority decision is made in a fair, fair and democratic manner can be,” Sturgeon told the Holyrood Autonomous Assembly.

He faces adamant rejection from Boris Johnson, who has reiterated on many occasions that he is not ready to allow a new independence referendum in Scotland. When Cameron gave the go-ahead for the referendum in 2014, the so-called Scotland Act Section 30 Order was used, allowing certain powers to be permanently or temporarily delegated to Home Rule. In this case, the issue was the possibility of convening such consultations. Sturgeon believes, as many lawyers defend, that this precedent will allow Scottish MPs to authorize a new referendum without London’s prior consent.

The prime minister commissioned them Mr Advocate of Scotland (the government’s legal adviser), Dorothy Bain, to send the new law to the UK High Court without delay to confirm or reject its legality in advance. The Supreme Court, a relatively newly created institution – it arose in the era of then Prime Minister Tony Blair – has the function of reviewing the constitutionality of any law or government act. “The referendum must be legal, and that legality must be a fact and not just an opinion,” Sturgeon said.

“In the event that the Supreme Leader decides that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power by law to call a consultative referendum,” said the Prime Minister, “he has made it clear that the UK, being a voluntary Union of Nations is a fiction.”

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The nationalist politician has sent Johnson a letter announcing his decision and calling for new negotiations: “You and I will never agree on the grounds justifying Scotland’s independence. But I expect any Democrat who agrees with me that it is unacceptable that the Scottish people’s right to make that decision be blocked given the clear pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament at the moment,” Sturgeon told the UK Prime minister.

In the event that neither the Supreme Court, nor the Johnson government, nor the British Parliament give their consent to hold a new referendum, Sturgeon said it is clear that London does not respect the democratic right to self-determination that, according to the SNP, the Scots have. The party would go to the next regional elections – which have never proposed to be brought forward – with the sole agenda of achieving independence. “And these elections will become a referendum de facto”, warned against it.

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Source elpais.com

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