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Scottish nationalists vow Brexit fight and dangle fresh independence vote

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivers a speech during a media conference at the Scotland House in Brussels as she is on a one day visit to meet with EU officials, on June 29, 2016.
Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt | AFP | Getty Images
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivers a speech during a media conference at the Scotland House in Brussels as she is on a one day visit to meet with EU officials, on June 29, 2016.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has indicated it will go toe-to-toe with the government of the United Kingdom over plans to exit the European Union and could even trigger a fresh bid for independence.

A U.K. Supreme Court ruling Tuesday has ruled the parliament of the United Kingdom will get a say on government plans to leave the European Union.

However, the same court rejected arguments that the UK's devolved assemblies in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales must give assent before the process to leave Europe can start.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said in a statement Tuesday that Scotland's voice was "simply not being heard or listened to within the UK" and raised the issue of Scotland's U.K. membership.

"Is Scotland content for our future to be dictated by an increasingly right-wing Westminster Government, or is it better that we take our future in to our own hands?

"It is becoming ever clearer that this is a choice Scotland must take," she said.

The SNP leader also said that while the Supreme Court ruling to ensure a parliamentary vote was welcome, the rejection of devolved administrations revealed a lack of equality.

"It is now crystal clear that the promises made to Scotland by the U.K. Government about the Sewel Convention and the importance of embedding it in statute were not worth paper they were written on," Sturgeon said in a press release Tuesday.

The Sewel Convention is an agreement to ensure that the wider U.K. government doesn't make laws that affect Scotland without political consultation.


Scottish demands

SNP International Affairs spokesperson, Alex Salmond, also welcomed the headline decision but echoed that devolved administrations must still have a say.

"The Prime Minister and her hard Brexit brigade must treat devolved administrations as equal partners - as indeed she promised to do," he said.

The SNP has said it will contest the Article 50 process, promising to put forward 50 "serious and substantive" amendments to UK government legislation.

Within the amendments, the SNP want the government to publish a White Paper before invoking Article 50 and also seek unanimous agreement from a ministerial committee.


Anthony Woolich, partner at Holman Fenwick Willan, argued Tuesday that the Scottish National Party will make "maximum political capital" out of the ruling on Brexit by the U.K. Supreme Court.

He said a second Scottish referendum on independence, hot on the heels of the 2014 vote, could be on the cards but the oil price may prove a hurdle.

"The time frame is very unclear whether there is another referendum. The Scottish economy depends very much on oil and the price of oil has of course dipped," he said