Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles has today written to the Lord Advocate to ask what his position is on the competency of the Scottish Government to authorise another referendum without another Section 30 order.
On Wednesday 23 January, Mr Rumbles asked the Scottish Government what the Lord Advocate’s position is on its competency to authorise another referendum on Scottish independence without another section 30 order. Despite the Lord advocate being present in the chamber, the Minister for Parliamentary Business refused to answer.
Mr Rumbles’ letter is as follows:
Dear Lord Advocate,
I am writing with a number of questions relating to advice given to the Scottish Government over a prospective second independence referendum.
While I was disappointed you were unable to answer my questions in the parliamentary session of 23 January, I understand that in line with standing orders, it is for the Scottish Government to decide which representative responds to parliamentary questions. However, I am sure you will agree that these questions are of importance to the people of Scotland and I have requested the parliament re-examine our standing orders.
The Edinburgh Agreement struck between the Scottish and UK Government was a model for resolving constitutional questions. As the Scottish Government’s highest legal representative, I would be interested in your thoughts on the following questions:
- What is your position on the competency of the Scottish Government to authorise another referendum without another Section 30 order?
- If the Scottish Government were to consider such a move, what advice would you give them?
- Have the Scottish Government asked for an update on legal advice in relation to conducting a second Scottish independence referendum with or without another Section 30 order?
- What would be the legal implications and likely consequences if the Scottish Government chose to hold a so-called ‘wildcat’ referendum without a Section 30 order?
- What the legal implications are of the Scottish Government instructing civil servants to work on plans for a second independence referendum without a Section 30 order?
I believe that these questions are of interest to parliamentarians and our constituents, and I look forward to hearing from you,
MSP for North East Scotland
Commenting on the letter, Mr Rumbles said:
“The SNP were rightly onboard when it came to pressing the UK Government to release their Brexit legal advice.
“It is most disappointing that they have not been as open with the Scottish public about their own plans.
“The Scottish Government need to tell the public whether they are planning to hold another independence referendum without a section 30 order against the wishes of the Scottish public and whether the Lord Advocate thinks that’s legally sound.”