Sturgeon’s Indyref2 dream shattered as she will face ‘uphill battle’ in courts

Indyref2: Sturgeon faces 'uphill battle' says expert

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Nicola Sturgeon’s Indyref2 fate could be in the hands of the UK Supreme Court. After Boris Johnson refused a section 30 order, which would allow her SNP party to move ahead with a second Scottish independence referendum, the First Minister is now looking into whether the Supreme Court would rule in her favour. And she could soon face a first hurdle, according to Akash Paun, Constitutional expert from the Institute for Government.

Speaking to BBC News, he said: “I mean, my expectation is that there will now be an assessment by the court in the usual way of whether the Scottish Parliament has this power. And then, as indicated in your previous package, my own view is quite an uphill battle the Scottish government will face in arguing that it has the power to do this without the UK agreement.

“The Scottish government is very clear that it wants to hold this referendum on a legal basis. And as we’ve just heard, their approach to that, which I think has come as a bit of a surprise to some people, has been to introduce the bill and refer it immediately to the Supreme Court to deice whether it is within devolved legislative competence.

“It is for the Supreme Court to decide whether to accept that referendum. They’ve put out a statement, saying that they’ll announce the process that will be followed fairly shortly.”

In an address to Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon said that if the Supreme Court ruled holding a second referendum is unlawful, the SNP would make independence its only policy at the next UK General election.

Mr Paun said: “If this case is taken to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court rules against her, the referendum cannot happen on the timetable or on the terms that she announced today. And then, the plan is for the next UK General Election to be fought by the SNP on this single question of independence.

“And then her aspiration, presumably, is that she’ll and her party will win a landslide majority. Maybe with more than 50 percent of the votes she’d be hoping for to enable her to argue: ‘look, we have a clear mandate. We have the support of the Scottish people to do this.’

“But even then, the legal position will not have changed. And it would still be a decision for Westminster.”

BBC News’ TV host then said: “But the point is presumably that the United Kingdom is based on a voluntary union of its members. And that is the plan, that is the strategy of the SNP: ‘No, that is not voluntary. And if we can provide that it’s not a voluntary union, then it should cease.’

Mr Paun said: “Well, yes. I have some sympathy with that argument on the basic point of democratic principle.  I don’t think that in the long run, the union, the United Kingdom, will work very well based basically if one part of that country clearly wants to leave.

“And if we see a succession of majority SNP governments with maybe 50 percent or more of Scottish voters giving their support to the SNP, the feeling will grow that Scotland is being held in the UK against its will. And I think in that case, in the end, a referendum would have to be held.”

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Since June of last year, only 3 out of all 23 polls monitoring the Scottish people’s position on independence show a razor-thin majority in favour.

According to YouGov’s poll, the last time a majority of Scots expressed their support for independence was between January and November 2020. That figure has since been steadily dropping to 45 percent in favour of independence in May.

Since then, Mr Paun notices, “there’s not been clear or consistent evidence that the Scottish people will either want another referendum or if there were to be one that they would vote yes.”

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