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Scottish independence: Scotland ‘doesn't have power’ to hold fresh referendum, says UK Supreme Court

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The UK Supreme Court has ruled that Scotland's parliament does not have the legislative competence to hold a consultative referendum on independence next year.

The ruling was handed down on Wednesday morning, following a case brought by the Scottish Government and Nicola Sturgeon's Scottish National Party in October.

Britain's top court was hearing whether Scotland’s semi-autonomous administration can organise an independence vote without the London government’s consent.Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon planned to hold a new independence referendum in October next year, but the UK government had been adamant it wouldn't happen, saying the 2014 referendum -- which was won by the "no" campaign with 55% of the vote to 44% in favour of independence -- was a "once in a generation event".Since then the numbers have tightened and Scots are evenly split on independence, although they have consistently returned pro-independence politicians to parliaments in Westminster and Edinburgh over the last eight years, with the SNP winning every national vote since then.

The Scottish Parliament currently has a majority of MSPs who are pro-independence from Sturgeon's Scottish National Party and the Greens.Sturgeon and the SNP argue that Britain’s departure from the European Union and the coronavirus pandemic have upended politics and the economy and that it’s time to revisit the case for independence.Five judges on the UK's Supreme Court in London heard arguments in this case over the course of several days in October.

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