A SOUTH Scotland MSP has welcomed the recent Supreme Court ruling on a Scottish independence referendum.

This morning, November 23, the highest legal court in the UK, the Supreme Court, ruled that the Scottish government cannot hold an independence referendum without the UK government's consent.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold a referendum on 19 October next year.

But the court ruled unanimously that she does not have the power to do so.

The UK government has so far refused to grant the formal consent for a vote that was in place before the referendum in 2014.

Commenting on the Supreme Court ruling that the Scottish Government does not have the legal power to call an independence referendum, South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has said: “The Scottish Government was right to seek legal clarity on this question of a referendum and that clarity has now been given.

“We now need both the Scottish and UK Governments to focus on the huge issues families are facing, in particular the cost of living crisis.

“Too many people are having to choose between eating and heating, our NHS is in crisis and we are entering a recession that will be devastating, in particular for the most vulnerable.

"We don’t need more constitutional bickering.

“We need both our governments to start to work together on the issues that matter. I don’t doubt this ruling will be disappointing for those who support independence, although I think even many of them felt right now was not the time for a referendum.

“I recognise there is a demand and a need for change across Scotland and the UK, but that can be delivered at the next General Election with a change of government.”