Sturgeon may use ‘advisory’ vote to push for independence | Politics | News

A constitutional expert has said the Scottish National Party led by Nicola Sturgeon could force a second independence referendum by replicating the Brexit model and forcing the referendum results to Westminster. The Scottish first minister now hopes that the Supreme Court will rule in her favour, and rule that an advisory referendum on Scottish independence can be legally held. In the same way that Boris Johnson’s government made the advisory vote on Brexit a reality, Sturgeon could push independence over the line with a yes vote from the Scottish people.

When asked if Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP could use the same strategy, Professor Aileen McHarg told Express.co.uk: “I think there are risks from that.

“Certainly, unionists have argued and continue to argue that even if the High Court had said this referendum was the prerogative of the Scottish Parliament and they could go ahead and boycott it they would simply refuse to participate in it.

“If you get a referendum result overwhelmingly in favor of independence, then yes but in circumstances where turnout is very low, you know the voters have boycotted it.

“This greatly reduces its political power. So, the ‘we will ignore this’ argument is already being made. And it is not terribly useful for the UK government’s argument in court because one of the anomalies in this case is that the UK and the Scottish government could have to He argues that the effect of the referendum is the opposite of what he intended it to be.”

In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in Miller’s case that the Brexit vote in and of itself did not constitute a sufficient basis to trigger Article 50 to leave the EU. Then Prime Minister Theresa May had to pass EU law in 2017 through Parliament to trigger Article 50 and start Brexit talks with the EU.

Prof McCarg said: “One of the things that was emphasized in the first Miller case in 2017 was that it did not, in and of itself, lead to the UK leaving the EU.

“There should have been another Act of Parliament to allow this withdrawal, so in this case they drew this distinction between legal effect and political effect.

“And by saying that there should be another legal step, we know that the majority of MPs voted to leave the EU – but not all of them did.

“There was no purely a formality, which is that we are leaving the EU.”

Read more: Sturgeon face blow to independent ‘mania’ as Sunak for taking a hard line

Professor McCarg said: “By returning the issue to Parliament, there was room for MPs and peers to vote against it under certain terms and conditions.

“In the end, none of that happened, but it could have. By adding this extra step, you leave out the possibility that the results of the EU referendum will be void.

“Even after activating Article 50, we had years of people trying to stop Brexit saying we needed another referendum. There was the Whitmer case when we went to the European Court of Justice and asked: ‘Can we revoke the Article 50 notification?’

“So the outcome of this referendum was by no means self-executing. Although it prevailed in the end, not everyone thought it should, and many people tried to stop it.”

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