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Bernard Ponsonby: After indyref2 ruling, are the Scottish Parliament’s powers fit for purpose?

Today’s judgement was unanimous and unambiguous. Holyrood cannot legislate for a second independence referendum unless it is done with the agreement of the Westminster parliament.

Two issues were before the court. 

First, could they consider a reference by the Lord Advocate, the Scottish Government’s chief legal officer, to clarify the issue? And, secondly, if they accepted that the reference is legally competent, could they rule on the legality of a referendum bill about to be considered by MSPs?

In essence, they decided that they could consider the reference sought by the Lord Advocate and, having considered it, unanimously concluded Holyrood does not have the legal authority to stage a plebiscite without Westminster’s consent.

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