First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced in Scottish Parliament today plans for another referendum on Scottish independence to take place, as well as a proposed date. Addressing MSPs at Holyrood this afternoon, the First Minister gave the proposed date of October 19th, 2023 for the referendum to be held.
Nicola Sturgeon said the question would be the same as in the last referendum in 2014: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” However, she explained that majority backing would not by itself make Scotland independent, explaining: “For Scotland to become independent following a yes vote, legislation would have to be passed by the UK and Scottish Parliaments.”
Nicola Sturgeon has written to Boris Johnson to ask for formal consent and to negotiate a Section 30 order – a clause in the Scotland Act – which would allow Holyrood to legally hold a second Scottish referendum on independence. She said that if the referendum does not go ahead and if denied legal powers to hold a second independence vote, the general election will be a ‘de facto referendum’ with the SNP standing on a single issue of independence.
The SNP leader said that she is instructing the Lord Advocate, Scotland’s chief legal officer, to go to the UK Supreme Court for clarification that Holyrood has powers under the Scotland Act for a consultative referendum should be held on 19th October 2023. However, if the court rules in the Scottish government’s favour, Nicola Sturgeon said it would move quickly to pass its Referendum Bill, which has been published today during the First Minister’s announcement.