Scotland's FM tells media that legal arguments on a new vote "wouldn't be necessary if Boris Johnson and the UK government simply respected democracy and agreed the process to put a referendum beyond legal doubt".
The Queen met with Nicola Sturgeon the day after Scotland's first minister suggested a date for a new referendum on Scottish independence. They talked at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Her Majesty is in the Scottish capital for Holyrood week and took part in the Ceremony of the Keys on Monday.
Prior to meeting the monarch, the FM said she was doing “the responsible thing” as she pursues a new vote on breaking away from the UK. She also contested whether the right to call a fresh plebiscite lies with the UK's Supreme Court. And she accused Boris Johnson of disrespecting democracy and not following the rule of law.
She told Sky News there is stronger backing for a new referendum in the Holyrood parliament than there was for Brexit in the Westminster parliament.
“That's what we are, through the decision of the Lord Advocate in Scotland, seeking to get – a judicial determination of that point.”
But she added that such legal argument “wouldn't be necessary, of course, if Boris Johnson and the UK government simply respected democracy and agreed the process to put a referendum beyond legal doubt”.
The FM continued: “I'm doing the responsible thing – a referendum has to be lawful.
“I'm not like Boris Johnson, who is of course breaching international law with his actions on the Northern Ireland Protocol. I respect the rule of law, which is why we are taking the path I set out yesterday – that's the responsible thing to do. But I also respect democracy. Scottish democracy cannot be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any UK prime minister. The people of Scotland must have the right to choose.”
FM Sturgeon has set a date of 19 October 2023 for a “consultative referendum”.
“Scottish Conservative leader: We're not going to play games”
Nicola Sturgeon has not asked the Westminster Government for a Section 30 order to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has revealed. Scotland's First Minister said that a Conservative Government is seeking to deny the “democratic right” of people in Scotland to choose their own future. On Tuesday FM has outlined her plans for holding a second referendum on Scotland's future in the UK to the Scottish Parliament. Asked on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show about Tuesday's statement, Douglas Ross said: “I'm not going to play Nicola Sturgeon's games on this issue.
“I'm going to take no part in her ‘pretend referendum’ when there's real work to be done, real work to tackle the cost of living crisis in Scotland, real work to support our NHS, real work to improve our educational standards, real work to get our justice system back on the side of the victims rather than the culprits, making sure that local government has the support it needs to deliver essential services. “These are all the priorities I hear from voters right across the country, not another independence referendum because Nicola Sturgeon just wants to divide us all over again.”
Ms Sturgeon said that the case for a referendum is “now as much a Scottish democracy movement as a Scottish independence movement”. The First Minister has said she intends the vote to be held in October 2023, however, there are significant barriers in the way as the Westminster Government is unlikely to approve the plans.