The Referendum on Separation for Scotland: Making the Process Legal
HC 542, Second Report of Session 2012-13 - Report, Together with Formal Minutes
- House of Commons - Scottish Affairs Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
Scotland can only separate from the UK if the Scottish people make that decision in a referendum; 'The Referendum on Separation for Scotland: Making the Process Legal (HC 542)' reports that any such referendum must have an unchallengeable legal and moral basis, to avoid delays and challenges to the legitimacy of the process and its result.
The Scottish Parliament can legislate only on devolved matters, and the Union between Scotland and England is a reserved matter. The Scottish Government has argued that Holyrood is legally competent to set up a referendum, but the Committee can find no evidence for this and the Scottish Government has provided no legal justification for this view.
Any attempt to conduct a referendum on a dubious legal basis would inevitably be challenged in the courts and could take years to be resolved. The Committee propose that the UK and Scottish Governments and Parliaments agree the specific detail of an order under section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998, to give Scottish Parliament the power to conduct the referendum.
The Committee further believes that any Section 30 order proposed by the Government should be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by the Scottish Affairs Committee, and must be approved by all of Scotland's MPs. However, this should not be used to allow those who anticipate being defeated to stall or derail the process.
|Format||Paperback||Published||07 Aug 2012|
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