Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has addressed supporters in Edinburgh after the SNP was defeated in its legal fight to hold a new referendum on independence. The Supreme Court, the highest court in the UK, unanimously ruled that the Scottish Parliament does not hold the power alone to organise a new vote on the issue.
This ruling means that the SNP will not be able to hold a legal referendum without the permission of Westminster. The UK government has already made clear that it does not support granting another referendum after 2014’s “once-in-a-lifetime” vote.
The Supreme Court ruling has come as a blow to Sturgeon, the SNP and independence supporters. Many have gathered in Scottish cities, including Edinburgh, to protest in favour of independence.
Sturgeon made an appearance at the Time for Scotland rally in the Scottish capital, voicing her disappointment at the decision. However, despite her disappointment, the First Minister and SNP leader remained upbeat about the future of the movement.
Followers of the independence movement will no doubt increase their vocal support of the topic as the SNP’s planned referendum date of 19 October 2023 approaches. Here’s everything you need to know about what happened at Wednesday’s rally.
What did Nicola Sturgeon say at Edinburgh independence rally?
Independence supporters had gathered throughout the country to hear as the Supreme Court ruling was made at around 10am. Some gathered outside the courts in London, with others choosing to gather outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.
While the decision might not have gone their way, people continued to gather at Holyrood throughout the day to make their voice heard. Later in the evening, hundreds were joined by Sturgeon who addressed the crowd from the stage.
The First Minister told the audience that the “voice of the Scottish people” will not be silenced following the court decision. She added: “And while today’s ruling may create temporary relief on the part of unionist politicians and parties, they should know the hardest questions that have been posed today are questions for them.”
“Any partnership in any walk of life that requires one party to seek the consent of another to choose its own future is not voluntary – it is not a partnership at all,” she said.
The First Minister added: “The Westminster establishment may think they can block a referendum, but let me be clear… no establishment, Westminster or otherwise, will ever silence the voice of the Scottish people.”
The SNP leader added that “our job as Scotland’s peaceful, civic, inclusive, internationalist independence movement is the same today as it was yesterday”.
Sturgeon had earlier tweeted that she was “disappointed” in the Supreme Court’s ruling. However, she remained upbeat in the closing lines of her speech, telling supporters: “Let’s get to it, my friends, let’s win our independence and build the Scotland we know is possible.”