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Britain’s High Court ruled on Wednesday that the Scottish government does not have the power to hold a new referendum on independence without London’s consent.

Chief Justice Robert Reid ruled unanimously that such a referendum would have consequences for the unity of the United Kingdom and would therefore require the consent of the central authority in London.

As a result, Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed her “disappointment” at the verdict, but declared that she respected the court’s decision.

“A law that does not allow Scotland to choose our future without the consent of the (UK Parliament) exposes the idea that the UK is a voluntary partnership,” the SNP leader wrote on Twitter.

“We need to find other constitutional, democratic and legal ways in which the Scottish people can express their will,” he added. In my opinion, it’s just an election.

For his part, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the decision “clear and decisive” in the House of Commons, adding that “it is time for politicians to come together and this is what this government will do.”

Alistair Jack, Scotland’s foreign secretary, said in a statement: “We note and respect the High Court’s unanimous decision.”

In turn, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Scotland, Robert Reid, said that under the devolution of powers for Scotland Act, the UK Parliament “has” the power to hold a referendum.

“The Scottish Parliament does not have the legislative power to hold a referendum on Scottish independence,” he added.

The Edinburgh government asked in October next year “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Wanted to vote on the question.

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But the UK government, which oversees the country’s constitutional affairs, has refused to give Edinburgh the power to hold a referendum.

He believes the last referendum, in 2014, when 55 per cent rejected Scottish independence, settled the question for a generation.

But Sturgeon and her party now say there is an “unquestionable mandate” for another independence referendum, particularly in light of the UK’s exit from the EU.

A majority of voters in Scotland opposed Brexit. But for the first time, pro-independence MPs won a majority in Scotland’s recent parliamentary elections.

Opinion polls show a slight lead for independence supporters.

In the High Court last month, lawyers for the London government argued that the Scottish government could not decide on its own whether to hold a referendum.

Permission must be given because the United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a four-nation constitutional body under the central government in London.