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A top judge this week ruled a two-day hearing into whether the Scottish Government can hold a new independence referendum without Westminster’s permission must go ahead without delay. IndyRef2 campaigners had accused the UK Government of using procedural motions to deliberately delay the hearing.
The latest twist in the battle for IndyRef2 comes as analysis showed Brexit is propelling more Scots to the independence side of the debate.
Martin Keatings, convener of the pro-indendence campaign group Forward As One, is asking Scotland’s supreme civil court to declare that Holyrood has the power under the Scotland Act 1998 to legislate for a public vote on independence – without the need for the UK Government’ consent.
Judge Lady Carmichael on Tuesday ruled that written arguments between both parties must be exchanged to start the legal action.
This step would be followed by the case being scheduled to be heard in full before the court.
The hearing will be allocated two days.
Mr Keatings said the ruling was an important step towards holding another public vote in Scottish independence.
He said: “Today has been a good day in advancing this serious matter of law with respect to the constitutional question, and to get a proper determination that it is legally competent for the Scottish Parliament to legislate for a second referendum without the consent of Westminster.
“For months, we have had to face down procedural hurdles occasioned by the Scottish Ministers, the Lord Advocate and the Advocate General which have caused delay after delay for no other reason than the fact that our position is beyond argument.
“Today Lady Carmichael’s ruling puts an end to these deliberate attempts to block and slow down this case from coming before the court.
“We thank her for her fair-minded ruling.”
In the 2014 referendum 55 percent of voters rejected taking Scotland out of the United Kingdom.
Following the SNP’s big gains in the December election last year, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to Boris Johnson asking him to grant Scots the right to hold a fresh IndyRef.
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The Prime Minister responded by rejecting her request.
This week it emerged that analysis of a study examining public opinion across the country found the pursuit of Brexit is undermining support for Scotland remaining in the UK.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, all of those who shifted towards a pro-independence view had positive opinions of the EU, according to the research.
Leading pollster Professor Sir John Curtice and Ian Montagu also found most Scots are pessimistic about the consequences of Brexit.
The Scottish Centre for Social Research analysed data from Scottish Social Attitudes surveys conducted over the past several years.
The results of the 2019 survey were released at the end of September this year, covering the period between April 2019 and March 2020.
Of those who would vote Remain in another EU referendum, support for Scottish independence has gone from 44 percent in 2016 to 57 percent in the latest survey.
In contrast, among people who would vote Leave in another EU referendum, the proportion backing independence has fallen over the same period from 45 percent to 39 percent.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has criticised Mr Johnson’s handling of Brexit and argued Mrs Sturgeon should be offered a place at the negotiating table with the EU.
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