Nicola Sturgeon faces Scottish independence judgement day as Supreme Court sets exact date

The SNP is hoping the court rules that it can legislate for a second vote on Scotland’s relationship with the UK without Westminster’s backing. The hearing will take place in London on October 11 and 12.

This is just over a year before Ms Sturgeon’s proposed date for a referendum, October 19, 2023.

When laying out her “route map” towards independence in Holyrood last month, the First Minister insisted “the people of Scotland said ‘yes’ to an independent referendum” in May 2021 by electing “a clear majority of MSPs committed to that outcome”.

The democratic decision, she added, “was clear”.

Boris Johnson has, however, been just as clear that we ought to show “respect” to the 2014 referendum.

Ms Sturgeon insisted the referendum should be “legal” and “constitutional”.

But commentators have questioned how this will be possible without the backing of Number 10.

It is reported this morning that Supreme Court judges will hear the full arguments from both sides of the argument before reaching their decision.

The panel for the case will be announced at the end of September.

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Judges have already refused a motion from the Advocate General for Scotland – the UK Government’s top Scottish law officer – for written submissions, required before the middle of August, to focus only on the question of whether the court should rule on the case at all.

The Supreme Court said in a statement that it was “in the interests of justice and the efficient disposal of the proceedings that the court should hear argument on both issues at a single hearing”.

In its latest paper on Scottish independence, the SNP said the country would, outside the UK, be more democratic.

Ms Sturgeon wrote that “with independence, decisions about Scotland would be taken by the people who live here through their elected Scottish Parliament and government”.

But James Mitchell, Professor of Public Policy, Edinburgh University, responded that the government could, instead, “simply replicate much of the worst of Westminster”.

He added: “What is on offer is not a proposal to renew democracy. This dismal, negative, uninspiring document suggests that the SNP would recreate a warped and discredited form of democracy, an independent Scotland that would simply be a little Britain.”

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