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Supreme Court Judgment (Response)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 24th September 2019.

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The First Minister:

The comments that were attributed to Downing Street sources after the inner house of the Court of Session issued its judgment a couple of weeks ago were disgraceful. I hope that we do not hear anything of that nature again from any party or Parliament in the UK, and certainly not from the UK Government. I have heard comments today from the Prime Minister and others that they respect the independence of the judiciary, but it is important that they do not simply pay lip service to that and that their actions demonstrate it. We can all scrutinise that in the days that follow.

I know more than many, if not more than most, in the Parliament about the accountability of Government to Parliament—Adam Tomkins made a point about that—and the accountability of Government to the courts. That is often uncomfortable territory for Governments, but if we compromise on that ground, our very democracy is at stake. It is vital that all of us are prepared to adhere in substance, not just through lip service, to those fundamental underpinning values of the democracy that we all cherish so highly, no matter how difficult that might be for us on particular issues from time to time.