Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled that Scotland’s government cannot unilaterally hold a second referendum on whether to secede from the United Kingdom, in a blow to independence campaigners that will be welcomed by Westminster’s pro-union establishment.
The court unanimously rejected an attempt by the Scottish National Party (SNP) to force a vote next October, as it did not have the approval of Britain’s parliament.
But the decision is unlikely to stem the heated debate over independence that has loomed over British politics for a decade.
Scotland last held a vote on the issue, with Westminster’s approval, in 2014, when voters rejected the prospect of independence by 55% to 45%.
The pro-independence SNP has nonetheless dominated politics north of the border in the intervening years, at the expense of the traditional, pro-union groups. Successive SNP leaders have pledged to give Scottish voters another chance to vote, particularly since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016.
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