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UK SC rules against Scottish independence vote plan

UK SC rules against Scottish independence vote plan
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London: The UK Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that Scotland does not have the power to hold a new referendum on independence without the consent of the British government.

The judgment is a setback for the Scottish government's campaign to break away from the United Kingdom.

The top court ruled that the Scottish Parliament "does not have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence."

Supreme Court President Robert Reed said the five justices were unanimous in the verdict, delivered six weeks after lawyers for the pro-independence Scottish administration and the Conservative UK government argued their cases at hearings in London.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was disappointed but would "respect" the judgment.

But, she said on Twitter: "A law that doesn't allow Scotland to choose our own future without Westminster consent exposes as myth any notion of the UK as a voluntary partnership and makes case for (independence)."

Independence supporters plan to rally outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh and at other sites later Wednesday.

The semi-autonomous Scottish government wants to hold a referendum next October with the question "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The UK government in London refuses to approve a vote, saying the question was settled in a 2014 referendum that saw Scottish voters reject independence by a margin of 55 per cent to 45 per cent.

The pro-independence government in Edinburgh wants to revisit the decision, though, arguing that Britain's departure from the European Union which a majority of Scottish voters opposed has radically changed the political and economic landscape.

Sturgeon argues that she has a democratic mandate from the Scottish people to hold a new secession vote because there is an independence-supporting majority in the Scottish Parliament.

During Supreme Court hearings last month, Dorothy Bain, the Scottish government's top law officer, said the majority of Scottish lawmakers had been elected on commitments to hold a fresh independence referendum.

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