Nicola Sturgeon dealt huge blow as pushing indyref2 to spark ‘high risk’ legal issues
IndyRef2: Expert reveals ‘risk’ of 'relying on legal point'
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has remained consistent in her belief Scotland should cut away from the rest of the United Kingdom and become independent. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has routinely argued the union should remain together and Scotland’s 2014 referendum on independence was a once in a generation opportunity. Professor Nicola McEwan spoke in a Zoom panel chat for Conservative Home and explained why simply passing legislation for a referendum would not be a success for Ms Sturgeon.
She insisted it would be a very high risk tactic and may not result in her desired outcome as Boris Johnson’s Government has the final say on whether there should be a referendum.
Professor McEwen said: “There is now a pro-independence majority in the Scottish Parliament.
“This will mean that if there is a referendum bill or some other initiative that comes to the Parliament chamber, it is likely to gain majority support.
“But does the Parliament have the legal authority to hold a referendum?”
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The professor noted that what she is about to say is a reflection of her being a political scientist, not a constitutional lawyer.
She said: “Schedule five of the Scotland reserves leaves law-making powers of the constitution to the Westminster Parliament.
“This is including the Union of the kingdom of Scotland and England.
“Ending the union would require the consent and the support of the Westminster Parliament.”
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“But it doesn’t make any reference of a referendum, however.
“I was on a panel recently with Adam Tomkins who is a constitutional lawyer and his view was that relying on the legal point would be extraordinarily high risk.
“This is because a court may take a different judgement on the intent and purpose and effect of any referendum legislation.
“In my view, however, there is no prospect of an illegal or wildcat referendum.”
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Following the Holyrood election results, Mr Johnson admitted he was pleased, for the moment, the SNP were moving away from their many calls for independence due to coronavirus.
He said: “He said: “I listened to the Scottish election carefully.
“My impression was that they [the SNP] moved away from the idea of a referendum, and I think very wisely.
“Because I don’t think this is anything like the time to have more constitutional wrangling, to be talking about ripping our country apart, when actually people want to heal our economy and bounce forward together. That’s what people want.”
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