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More than IndyRef2? The Referendums (Scotland) Act 2020

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alistair Clark



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Demands for a second Scottish independence referendum have persisted since 2014. The Scottish government introduced the Referendums (Scotland) Bill at Holyrood in May 2019 to enable referendums within the competence of the Scottish parliament. The SNP government presented this as a framework enabling a range of referendums. Opponents saw this as legislating for a second independence referendum. The Act will form a large part of the legal framework and rules for any second independence referendum. Importantly, the legislation provides innovation in electoral law more generally. This article discusses the background to the bill, its initial contents, and debates around and amendments to the bill. It discusses its electoral law innovations, before considering its limitations and place as constitutional debates play out over a second independence referendum.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clark A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Political Quarterly

Year: 2020

Volume: 91

Issue: 2

Pages: 467-472

Print publication date: 15/06/2020

Online publication date: 08/06/2020

Acceptance date: 12/05/2020

Date deposited: 15/05/2020

ISSN (print): 0032-3179

ISSN (electronic): 1467-923X

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/1467-923X.12861


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