Scottish government to introduce ‘framework bill’ for indyref2

Scottish government to introduce 'framework bill' for indyref2

The Scottish government has confirmed it will bring forward legislation to provide for a second referendum on Scottish independence.

The framework bill will set out the rules of principles for any referendum and will allow for the government to proceed to a vote on independence following the transfer of power from Westminster.

However, the UK government has not yet given any indication that it will agree to facilitate a legal referendum.

The 2014 referendum was held after the UK and Scottish governments concluded the Edinburgh Agreement, under which they agreed to promote an Order in Council under section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 to provide a clear legal basis for the referendum.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May in March 2017 to “begin early discussions” on a new Order under section 30, but was knocked back.

The Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, was challenged earlier this year to set out his position on the Scottish government’s competency to authorise a referendum without another section 30 order.

Following Ms Sturgeon’s statement in Holyrood yesterday, Scottish Secretary David Mundell said people in Scotland “voted decisively in 2014 to remain part of the UK, on a promise that the referendum would settle the issue for a generation” and criticised the First Minister for not “respecting that result”.

In yesterday’s statement, Ms Sturgeon also announced plans to establish a Citizens’ Assembly to bring together a representative cross-section of Scottish society under an independent chair and seek views on how best to equip Scotland’s Parliament for the challenges of the future, in light of Brexit.

She told MSPs that she was “struck recently by the Irish example of a citizens’ assembly to help find consensus on issues on which people have sharply divided opinions”.

The Irish assembly considered the country’s abortion laws over a five-month period in 2016-17 and produced a report which was referred to a key parliamentary committee.

The input of the assembly ultimately helped to shape the proposals that later became the law governing abortion in Ireland.

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish assembly would consider questions such as: “What kind of country are we seeking to build? How can we best overcome the challenges that we face, including those arising from Brexit? What further work should be carried out to give people the detail that they need to make informed choices about the future of the country?”

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