Scotland’s First Minister has told Boris Johnson it is “unacceptable” to force the Scottish Parliament to seek a legal independence referendum through the courts.
Instead, the two Governments should work together to “respect the mandate of the people of Scotland”.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said she “stands ready” to negotiate a section 30 order, which would permit a referendum, despite launching court action.
The Westminster Government has made Mr Johnson’s reluctance to allow a vote to go ahead “abundantly clear”, Ms Sturgeon said.
Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain, the Scottish Government’s chief legal officer, has referred the matter to the Supreme Court.
The ruling will decide if the Scottish Government has the legal basis to proceed with a referendum on the proposed date of October 19 2023.
In her letter to Mr Johnson, Ms Sturgeon said it was a “matter of deep regret” that she had to go through the Supreme Court.
The Scottish Government, she said, has been given a mandate for a referendum with a majority of pro-independence MSPs – made up of SNP and Green politicians – elected to parliament.
She wrote: “In a voluntary union of nations where the people of one nation have voted in elections to give a mandate for a referendum, it is, in my view, unacceptable democratically that the route to a referendum has to be via the courts rather than by co-operation between the UK and Scottish Governments.
“Indeed your actions to date call into question the whole idea of the UK as a voluntary partnership.
“You and I will never agree on the merits of independence for Scotland,” she told Mr Johnson.
“But I would expect any democrat to agree that it is unacceptable for the people of Scotland to be blocked from making that choice given the clear majority for a referendum in the Scottish Parliament.”