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24.03.14

Interim Scottish constitution to be published

An interim Scottish constitution will be published ahead of the parliament’s summer recess, the country’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon has stated.

As part of her Wales Governance Centre Annual Lecture in Cardiff, Sturgeon revealed that – as part of the Scottish government's ongoing preparations for the transition to independence, should people choose it in the referendum – the draft Scottish Independence Bill will be published later this year.

The Bill will provide for Scotland to become an independent state in March 2016 and set out its interim constitution. The fundamental principle underpinning the Bill will be that, in Scotland, the people are sovereign. It will also set in place the process by which Scotland, as an independent country, will prepare its permanent written constitution in a fully participative process led by the people.

Sturgeon said: “Today, the date which will become our independence day following a vote for independence this September, I want everyone in Scotland to consider who we are as a nation and what we have the potential to become.

“A written constitution is an important part of a nation’s identity – it defines who we are and sets out the values that we hold dear. Currently we are without a written constitution, and the UK is the only country within the European Union or the Commonwealth that does not have a written constitution or a constitution Act – that is a democratic deficit an independent Scotland will not replicate.”

In her Cardiff lecture, Sturgeon will also set out the economic and social case for Scotland becoming independent. She will argue that the notion of the UK as a partnership of equals is being undermined by those leading the argument against independence. And she will say that the social union between Scotland and the other nations of the British Isles will be strengthened, not weakened, if Scotland becomes an independent country.

Following a vote for independence, the Scottish Independence Bill would be introduced to the Scottish Parliament. It would form the interim written constitution for Scotland until the constitutional convention, which would be established by the Scottish Parliament elected in May 2016, prepared a permanent constitution for Scotland.

“I believe the process of drafting our constitution will energise and inspire people across the country – woman and men, young and old, rural and urban, people in all the diverse communities that make up modern Scotland,” said Sturgeon. “It would be an exciting and unique opportunity to shape our nation, celebrate and protect our values and commit ourselves to building a better country.”

(Image copyright: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

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