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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:

Yes, I will—unequivocally and unreservedly. I appreciate the question that has been asked and the spirit—I hope—in which it has been asked. If there is anything broken about the UK’s unwritten constitution right now—my view is that there is lots broken about it—it is not the independence of the judiciary, the way in which our judges are appointed, or the way in which our judges go about their business. I would argue that that is one of the aspects of the constitution that have worked effectively over recent weeks and months.

It is important for all of us to respect the judiciary, and that means not calling judges out as enemies of the people when they make judgments that we do not agree with, as some newspapers have done. It also involves not lauding them as heroes when they make judgments that we agree with. Judges are there to do a job independently and to apply the law without fear or favour. Politicians will agree with some judgments and disagree with others, but it is important that we respect the principle of independence. That is fundamental to our democracy and its operation, and any of us would depart from that at our peril.