Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon is confident a referendum could take place next year. The highest court in the United Kingdom is considering from Tuesday whether this plebiscite is possible without permission from the government in London.
British prime minister Liz Truss disagrees. Sturgeon sees a blockade by London as proof that Scotland is part of a political system that does not respect Scottish democracy. Her Nationalist Party (SNP) won a major victory in the regional elections last year. This is a clear mandate from the electorate for a referendum.
Scotland has been a member of the United Kingdom since 1707 and had its own parliament in 1998. However, all matters relating to the Union remained with Parliament in London. The court will hear arguments next week over whether the Scottish Parliament has the power to pass laws for an independence referendum. Sturgeon wants to hold the vote in October next year.
The last time a referendum on secession from the United Kingdom was held in Scotland was in 2014. Then 55 percent of voters voted against independence and 45 percent in favour. In its argument for a new referendum, the SNP points to Brexit, among other things. A majority of Scots voted unsuccessfully in a referendum in 2016 against the UK’s departure from the European Union.