Supreme Court decision on Scottish independence referendum ‘could open door to one in Wales’
If the Supreme Court decides that Scotland can hold their own independence referendum it would open the door to Wales holding one on the same basis, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price has said.
Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday that she had referred the matter of the referendum to the Supreme Court to discover if the referendum bill she was proposing was a reserved matter.
If the Supreme Court decided that Scotland can hold an advisory referendum then Wales could do the same, Adam Price told Radio Cymru.
It would however depend on a pro-independence party like Plaid Cymru winning a mandate from the electorate, he said.
“We’ll see what happens in the Supreme Court because it will decide whether Scotland’s parliament – and Wales’ parliament – can hold an advisory referendum on the constitution of our countries,” he said.
“If the Supreme Court decides in favour, we in Wales will have a route to go directly to the people of Wales in order to have a mandate for securing our own right to self-determination as a nation.”
He said that one thing Wales could do to hasten that process was “that we see the biggest ever march for independence in Wrexham this Saturday”.
He added that he was also trying to convince the First Minister Mark Drakeford to see things from his perspective.
He said: “It’s not enough to hope that UK Labour win the next General Election. What if they don’t? What if the Conservatives win another majority, even they won’t – and I can foresee this – win a majority in Wales?”
In the Senedd yesterday, Mark Drakeford said he didn’t see the purpose of “continually re-litigating” the issue of Welsh independence.
“I stood next to the leader of Plaid Cymru in debates in which he attempted to persuade people that independence—breaking away from the United Kingdom—was the best way to secure Wales’s future,” Mr Drakeford added.
“I made a different case; I make it still: that the way to ensure that people in Wales continue to exercise the level of control over our own affairs is to make sure that devolution is entrenched, that it cannot be rolled back in the way that it is currently. And there is a way to do that, Llywydd, and it’ll come at the next general election, and that cannot come soon enough.
“We don’t have a Government at Westminster,” he said. “We have a set of headless chickens who run around trying to save their own skins.
“It’s time for them to clear out for people to have a chance to choose a different and a better Government”.
“And that will be the way to make sure that people in Wales have what I think they demonstrated in May of last year that they wanted.
“They want to have powerful devolution. They want to have a Senedd able to do the job that we were elected to do.
“But they want, as well, to be part of a successful United Kingdom.”
Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon proposed that a new Scottish independence referendum be held on October 19, 2023.
The First Minister of Scotland said that it will be a consultative referendum but would still have standing, as in the case of other referendums such as Brexit. That meant that it would be lawful and within remit of the Scottish Parliament, she said.
The First Minister said that she was willing to negotiate the terms of the referendum with the Prime Minister but “I will never do is allow Boris Johnson to make a prisoner of Scottish democracy”.
“I want the process set in train today to lead to a lawful, constitutional referendum and for that to take place on 19 October 2023,” she said. “That is what we are preparing for.”
Nicola Sturgeon added that she wanted to emphasise that although she expected opponents of Scottish independence to attempt to claim that this would be a “wildcat referendum,” it would have the same status as 2014.
“Just as in 2014 – and recognised explicitly in the 2013 White Paper – a majority yes vote in this referendum will not in and of itself make Scotland independent.
“For Scotland to become independent following a yes vote, legislation would have to be passed by the UK and Scottish Parliaments.
“There has been much commentary in recent days to the effect that a consultative referendum would not have the same status as the vote in 2014. That is simply wrong, factually and legally.
“The status of the referendum proposed in this Bill is exactly the same as the referendums of 1997, 2014 and 2016.”
She however conceded that “no matter how Scotland votes, regardless of what future we desire for our country, Westminster can block and overrule. Westminster will always have the final say”.
“There would be few stronger or more powerful arguments for independence than that.”
She added: “If it does transpire that there is no lawful way for this parliament to give the people of Scotland the choice of independence in a referendum – and if the UK government continues to deny a section 30 order – my party will fight the UK general election on this single question: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’”
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