Nicola Sturgeon sets date for fresh Scottish independence referendum

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has laid out plans for the country to hold a “consultative” independence referendum on October 19 2023.

Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh on Tuesday that Scotland’s lord advocate had agreed to refer a bill setting up the referendum to the UK Supreme Court, to establish if it was within her government authority to hold such a vote. If the court disagreed, then the UK general election expected to be held in 2024 would be a de facto vote on independence, she said.

“The legislative competency can only be determined judicially,” she said. Sturgeon said she accepted that a “Yes” vote in itself would not lead to independence, and that legislation would have to be passed by both the Scottish and UK governments.

Ahead of the speech, Sturgeon’s Labor, Conservative and Liberal Democrat opponents accused her of being out of touch with Scotland’s voters, echoing the stance of the government in Westminster that people were concerned about the cost of living crisis, education and health.

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