Sturgeon’s independence plan descends into chaos

Lord Sumption, a former Supreme Court justice, told BBC Radio Scotland he expected the court would give the referendum case a “high degree of expedition and might be decided this autumn” as “it clearly can’t be allowed to drag on for that much longer”.

He said: “The Scottish Government’s main difficulty is that the constitutional relations of Scotland with the rest of the UK are a reserved matter, which means that the Scottish Parliament has no power to legislate about it.”

He predicted Ms Sturgeon would argue it was only a “consultative” referendum that would not in itself change the relationship between Scotland and the UK.

But he cited a recent Supreme Court ruling that the SNP had overstepped its powers by attempting to enshrine treaties on child rights and local government into Scots law.

He said: “The difficulty is that the Supreme Court decided last October that whether a matter was reserved, that meant not simply that the Scottish Parliament couldn’t directly legislate upon it, it also meant that they couldn’t legislate in a way that was intended to bring pressure upon the UK authorities on a reserved matter.

“I suspect that that will probably be the principal difficulty in the way of Ms Sturgeon’s application.”

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