Alex Salmond: UK Supreme Court ‘won’t be friendly
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The SNP leader’s dream of holding a legal second referendum on Scottish independence could be ruined by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The court, which has deliberated on the legality of holding a second vote without Westminster’s consent, is widely expected to rule against Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP. The pro-independence leader Alex Salmond joined the chorus of voices, warning the First Minister of that eventuality.
The Alba Party leader said: “As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, I don’t hold out any great hopes there.
“I think the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is not going to be friendly to Scottish aspirations.”
Despite the predicted outcome, Mr Salmond praised the pledge made by his former deputy to force through a second referendum next year.
Mr Salmond said: “And then, that would go to, according to the First Minister, my successor, will go to a general election in Scotland.
“But I’ve certainly got that date of October next year ring-fenced in my diary.”
“I’ll be looking forward to the referendum delivered and another chance to vote on Scottish independence.”
Nicola Sturgeon will face a make-or-break decision by the Supreme Court on Wednesday as judges are set to give their verdict on the legality of a second independence referendum.
Judges have weighed the arguments delivered by the UK and the Scottish Governments in a two-day hearing in the court in early October.
The Scottish Government has argued that a referendum would be “advisory” and the results would have “no legal consequences” on the union.
However, the UK Government has countered that argument, saying it is “perfectly obvious” Holyrood would seek to enact the result of a yes vote.
Their lawyer said a referendum bill would be “self-evidently, squarely and directly about the Union”, and that it was clear the Scottish government’s intention was “not just to have an opinion poll”.
They added the Scottish Government does not hold the power to hold another vote without a section 30 order.
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First Minister Sturgeon has fought for years to get Westminster’s green light through the coveted Section 30 order, but has systematically faced opposition from successive Prime Ministers.
The Supreme Court could grant Holyrood the powers to hold a legal second referendum in which case the SNP/Greens coalition could table the draft referendum bill and pass it through Parliament with their pro-independence majority.
Ms Sturgeon would then put pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to sign up to take part in a referendum in the same way David Cameron did with Alex Salmond in 2014.
However, if the Supreme Court rules in the UK Government’s favour, Nicola Sturgeon would run the next election solely on the promise of independence and would use a victory as a mandate to hold a second referendum.
Judges could also reject the reference and decline to make a ruling at all. The verdict will be given on Wednesday at 9:45 am.
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