28 November 2022

Role of civil service in Scotland being re-examined after IndyRef case – Jack

28 November 2022

The role of the civil service in Scotland is being re-examined following the Supreme Court’s ruling last week, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has said.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case and senior civil servants are discussing the issue with John-Paul Marks, the Scottish Government’s permanent secretary, the minister said.

SNP ministers are currently producing a series of papers to build the case for Scottish independence, known as the independence prospectus.

The Tories are strongly opposed to this and say it is a waste of money and civil servants’ time.

Last week, the UK’s highest court ruled that Holyrood does not have the power to legislate for a second independence referendum without Westminster’s consent.

Speaking at Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee, Mr Jack said the UK Government had spent £71,800 defending the case.

He said the court’s decision had confirmed the Government’s “long-standing view” that the constitution was reserved to Westminster.

Asked about the civil service, he said the top civil servants in each Government stayed in close contact about the parameters they operated under.

He said: “Those people: the Cabinet Office, the civil service led by the cabinet secretary, are working again on what this judgment means for the future role of the civil service in Scotland.”

Mr Jack also reiterated the UK Government’s opposition to treating the next general election as a de facto referendum on Scottish independence, something Nicola Sturgeon is planning to do.

He said: “You can’t have a mandate for something that we now know you legally do not have any power over.”

He clashed with SNP members of the committee, who pushed him on what the route to Scottish independence would be.

Mr Jack said: “We believe that the majority of Scots do not want to have a referendum.

“Instead, they want us to focus on rebuilding the economy after Covid, on delivering on the structural funding we’re doing, on helping them with the cost of living, on tackling inflation.”

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