The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom prevents Scotland from holding a second independence referendum
The UK’s highest court ruled on Wednesday that Scotland cannot hold a second referendum on independence.
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled, in a unanimous decision of 5 judges, that Scotland does not have the power to hold a new referendum on independence without the permission of the British parliament.
The ruling is a setback for the Scottish government’s campaign to break away from the UK and comes six weeks after lawyers for the pro-independence Scottish administration and the UK Conservative government argued their cases at hearings in London.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would respect the ruling but continue the fight for independence, saying Scotland’s “democratic right to choose our own future” was at stake.
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Shortly after the verdict, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he believed “the people of Scotland want us to work to solve the major challenges we face collectively”.
“We respect the clear and final judgment of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom,” added Sunak.
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The semi-autonomous Scottish government wants to hold a referendum next October with the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
The UK government in London refuses to approve a vote, saying the issue was decided in a 2014 referendum in which Scottish voters rejected independence by a margin of 55% to 45%.
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Scotland and England have been politically united since 1707. Scotland has had its own parliament and government since 1999 and makes its own policies on public health, education and other matters. The UK-wide government in London controls matters such as defense and fiscal policy.
Wednesday’s ruling cannot be appealed.
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The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report