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Nicola Sturgeon rallies towards second Scottish indyref after Supreme Court's Brexit ruling

Nicola Sturgeon said claims about Scotland being an 'equal partner are being exposed as nothing more than empty rhetoric'. Credit: PA

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has raised the prospect of a second Scottish referendum after the Supreme Court ruled the Government need not consult with the devolved powers before triggering Brexit.

Reacting to the ruling, she said: "It is becoming clearer by the day that Scotland's voice is simply not being heard or listened to within the UK."

While the justices ruled MPs in Westminster must be given a vote before the Government can trigger Article 50, they unanimously ruled the assemblies in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast do not need to give their formal approval through a vote.

What was the legal claim for the devolved powers to get a vote?

Scottish Lord Advocate made the case for Holyrood to be given a vote on the Brexit triggering process. Credit: PA

The legal challenge chiefly related to two sections of 1998's Northern Ireland Act (sections 1 and 75) that established devolved powers.

The justices concluded neither section was of assistance in the Brexit legal case.

Scottish Lord Advocate James Wolffe, arguing that the Scottish parliament's consent should be sought by the UK government, cited the Sewel Convention, which demands Holyrood be consulted when Westminister legislation affects devolved areas.

But while the justices noted the Sewel Convention was an important political convention they ruled it carried no legal obligation on the administration in Westminster.

Why does the ruling affect renewed claims for Scottish independence?

The SNP leader said the unanimous court ruling on Brexit showed a key part of devolution legislation was "not worth the paper it was written on".

Reacting to the verdict, Ms Sturgeon said: "It is now crystal clear that the promises made to Scotland by the UK Government about the Sewel Convention and the importance of embedding it in statute were not worth the paper they were written on."

The Supreme Court's ruling means Ms Sturgeon's pledge to give MSPs at Holyrood a vote on Article 50 will now be purely symbolic.

It is becoming clearer by the day that Scotland's voice is simply not being heard or listened to within the UK. The claims about Scotland being an equal partner are being exposed as nothing more than empty rhetoric and the very foundations of the devolution settlement that are supposed to protect our interests - such as the statutory embedding of the Sewel Convention - are being shown to be worthless.

This raises fundamental issues above and beyond that of EU membership. Is Scotland content for our future to be dictated by an increasingly right-wing Westminster Government with just one MP here - or is it better that we take our future into our own hands? It is becoming ever clearer that this is a choice that Scotland must make.

– First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Scotland voted to stay in the UK in a referendum in September 2014, with 55% rejecting the move to independence.

What were the other responses on the devolved power ruling?

Views in the Welsh Assembly were split on the Supreme Court's ruling. Credit: PA

The Welsh Government offered a different interpretation of the Sewel Convention as it welcomed the Supreme Court judgment.

It is vital that the UK Government develops an approach to negotiations which reflects the interests of Wales and the UK as a whole - an approach to which the Prime Minister has already publicly committed.

The judgment preserves and recognises the importance of the Sewel convention whereby Parliament will not normally legislate on areas devolved to Wales and devolved governments without their consent.

The Welsh Government will continue to work closely with the UK Government, and the other devolved administrations, through the Joint Ministerial Committee process to influence the overall UK position.

Our aims are to preserve single market access for business and to protect Welsh jobs and investment, along with the rights of workers.

– Welsh Government

Plaid Cymru described the judgment as "disappointing" and said it "regrets" the Welsh Assembly has been left without a voice in the Article 50 process.

A Welsh Conservative source said the ruling was "expected" and criticised the Welsh Government for wasting taxpayers' money on taking its case to the Supreme Court.

Alex Salmond called on Theresa May to show that the devolved powers are equal partners in the Brexit process. Credit: PA

Alongside Ms Sturgeon's response, former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond confirmed the SNP will put forward dozens of "serious and substantive" amendments to the Government's Brexit legislation.

Mr Salmond, the party's international affairs spokesman, said the amendments would ensure the devolved administrations are treated as "equal partners".

If Theresa May is intent on being true to her word that Scotland and the other devolved administrations are equal partners in this process, then now is the time to show it.

Now is the time to sit with the Joint Ministerial Committee and not just casually acknowledge, but constructively engage. Consultation must mean consultation.

Our amendments will address the very serious concerns facing the UK and the very real issues that the UK Government has, thus far, avoided.

– Alex Salmond, SNP international affairs spokesman

The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson accused the SNP of using the hearing "to hold the rest of the UK to ransom".

"It has comprehensively failed to do so," she said. "All parties should now respect the ruling that the court has given."

Unionists in the Stormont Assembly welcomed the judgment. Credit: PA

In Northern Ireland DUP MP Sammy Wilson backed the Supreme Court's decision on the role of the devolved powers, saying anything to the contrary would have been "totally irrational".

We will be using our votes and voice to ensure a rapid commencement on the negotiations to leave the EU, completely as the Prime Minister promised. It would have been totally irrational to have the Northern Ireland Assembly, Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament dictate the direction in which the nation should go after such a clear and decisive vote.

– Sammy Wilson, DUP MP

The leader of the Traditional Unionists also welcomed the ruling on the devolved powers as a "good decision for the unity of the United Kingdom".

I greatly welcome the firm rejection by the Supreme Court of the nonsense idea that the devolved assemblies required to be consulted - even afforded a veto, some argued - before the United Kingdom could implement the sovereign decision of its people to leave the EU.

– Jim Allister, TUV leader

Ulster Unionist MPs Tom Elliott and Danny Kinahan said it was "welcome" that "clarity has finally been given on this issue," adding: "The challenge now is to secure the best deal for Northern Ireland."

But SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the judgment marks a "significant and serious departure from our devolution settlement".

It significantly undermines the value placed on the democratic mandate of our Assembly. Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union, yet the Northern Ireland Assembly is being denied any role or rights in the upcoming negotiations with the European Union.

– Colum Eastwood, SDLP leader

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams warned Brexit "will undermine the institutional, constitutional and legal integrity of the Good Friday Agreement".

It puts the British Government on a collision course with the EU in which our stability and economic progress are regarded as collateral damage.

The Taoiseach and the Irish government must uphold the Remain vote in the North. And to argue for the North to be accorded a special designated status within the EU.

– Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein

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