British politics – direct: Scotland cannot hold a second Scottish independence referendum

Nicola Sturgeon wants the referendum to be held in October 2023

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Scottish parliament cannot hold a second referendum.

Judges at England's highest court ruled that Holyrood could not legislate on the matter, agreeing that constitutional matters were reserved for parliament in Westminster.

It comes after first minister Nicola Sturgeon said he wanted the referendum to be held on October 19 next year.

Lord Reed said courts do not make political decisions on the basis of independence, and it is in the public interest to decide this.

Elsewhere, Rishi Sunak was forced to postpone planning reforms amid significant resistance from Conservative lawmakers, demanding an end to the mandatory target of building 300,000 homes a year.

The prime minister will face a major test of his leadership next Monday when lawmakers are set to vote on the Level Up Bill.

But nearly 50 lawmakers and former cabinet ministers have signed an amendment that would bar the council from taking housing targets into account when deciding on planning applications.

Sturgeon hopes to use the ruling to fuel an independence movement at the upcoming general election

While most legal and constitutional experts expect the Supreme Court to rule against Ms Sturgeon, the decision throws the question of independence back into the spotlight, writes Adam Forrest.

Many hoped Ms Sturgeon would use the decision as a recruiting sergeant for the independence movement, which narrowly lost to the "No" campaign in the first ballot in 2014.

Ms Sturgeon previously warned that her party would run on the sole independence platform in the next UK general election if the Supreme Court rules against it. The minister meets with the chairman of the railroad union in an attempt to prevent a railroad strike

Transport secretaries will hold talks with rail union chiefs this week to press them to cancel a strike aimed at causing "maximum disruption" over Christmas, said jobs and pensions secretary Mel Stride.

Calling for "strong" engagement from the RMT union, Mr Stride told TalkTV: "The secretary of state [Mark Harper] is actually meeting union leaders this weekend, so there's a dialogue going on."

He said the consequences of a strike announced by RMT in December and January would be "quite serious" and "profound" - claiming it could disrupt medical appointments as well as "family reunions" taking place during the festive period.

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