Britain's Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling confirming Scotland will not be able to hold a second independence referendum without the British government's approval.
Scottish independence is imperative, said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who added that with such a decision the future of democracy was at stake.
Sturgeon also admitted she would respect the decision, but insisted she was disappointed.
In the 2014 referendum, 55% of the Scottish population wanted to remain a part of the United Kingdom, but after Brexit in 2020, many believe a second vote is highly needed.
The Court's decision is believed to be fueling Scottish nationalism in the months to come and Sturgeon knew from her statements during the 2014 campaign when she was Deputy First Minister that such a legislative process was always up to the UK Parliament. Hence, the new ruling means no actual change to the rules of the game.
The First Minister is known to have preferred a referendum, but the Scottish National Party is now likely to use the next UK general election as a “de facto referendum.”
However, of the 20 polls conducted this year regarding independence only two have shown a Yes lead: Voters felt leaving the UK was as big an economic risk as leaving Liz Truss in charge.
Scottish commentators also pointed out that that it had always been clear the SNP had never expected to hold a referendum and that they know so from Sturgeon’s position right up until she lost. At any rate, the political window of opportunity offered by a Conservative government is closing.
From the SNP's angle, the UK is a voluntary union of four nations. But if there is no means of voting to leave the Union, then it is not voluntary and the Court's decision leaves Scotland unable to choose its own future. It is also the only way for Scotland to reverse the effects of Brexit and rejoin the European Union. Sturgeon now intends to treat the next general election as a plebiscite in Scotland on independence.
Every Prime Minister will now risk becoming the one who “lost Scotland.” Successive prime ministers had refused to allow another referendum on Scotland’s independence from the UK, despite repeated calls from the SNP. The supreme court was asked to rule on whether a referendum could be held without Westminster's approval. The decision was a unanimous no.