Following the announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at last week’s Scottish National Party Conference, the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill [Consultation Draft] was published today and can be found here

Key points to note:

  • The Bill has not been introduced in the Scottish Parliament and there are no firm plans to do so.
  • Instead the Bill has been published for consultation.
  • The First Minister was asked by BBC journalist Brian Taylor last week whether a second referendum would need a “section 30 Order” (an Order made by the Westminster Parliament confirming the Scottish Parliament’s power to hold a referendum). The First Minister replied that she expected that the process for holding a second referendum would be in line with that adopted for the first. She also expressed the view that it would be politically unacceptable for Westminster to refuse to provide the necessary powers.
  • The draft Bill provides that, subject to specific exceptions, the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013 is to apply to a new referendum as it applied to the previous referendum. This provision has substantially reduced the length of the draft Bill in comparison with the 2013 Act.
  • As before, the draft Bill provides for 16 year olds to be entitled to vote and – as before – it is intended that EU nationals would be entitled to vote.

Brodies’ ‘Scotland’s Constitutional Future’ online resources will continue to be updated with new material on the independence referendum consultation as well as ongoing commentary on Brexit. Those resources can be found here.