After UK top court snub, Scottish leader calls next election a ‘de facto referendum’

After the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled that Scotland could not hold another referendum for independence without an approval from Westminster, Scottish politician Nicola Sturgeon said that the next general election will be a “de facto referendum” on Scotland’s freedom from the UK. Sturgeon is the First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) since 2014. 

A First Minister is the leader of Scotland’s government and operates from Edinburgh.

“Today’s ruling blocks one route to Scotland’s voice being heard on independence. We must and we will find another democratic, lawful and constitutional means by which the Scottish people can express their will. In my view, that can only be an election,” Nicola Sturgeon said. 

She then wrote on Twitter that she is disappointed by Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling. “The UK Supreme Court does not make law, only interprets it,” she said. 

“Scottish democracy will not be denied… In a democracy our voice cannot and will not be silenced,” Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter. 


Four consecutive prime ministers have refused Sturgeon’s requests to grant her a section 30 order, the section of the 1998 Scotland Act, the law that established the Scottish parliament. It allows the Scottish parliament to pass laws in areas that are normally reserved to Westminster, such as the union.

Delivering a unanimous judgement on Wednesday, the supreme court president, Robert Reed, said the effects of legislation were “not restricted to legal consequences but can include its practical consequences”. The outcome of a referendum would “possess the authority of a democratic expression of the view of the Scottish electorate” and would “either strengthen or weaken the democratic legitimacy of the union”.


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