Nicola Sturgeon “undermines” the private government as the Scottish National Party announces plans to intervene in a legal bid

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of “undermining” her government after it emerged that the SNP would seek to interfere with her legal bid for IndyRef2.

NAT leaders prepare an application allowing them to present the political arguments for a referendum on independence before the Supreme Court.

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Nicola Sturgeon has taken her fight to the Supreme Court of Appeal for the right to hold a referendumCredit: Reuters

The party’s National Executive Committee gave the go-ahead for the plan at the weekend – just 24 hours after the Lord’s Counsel’s submission to the judges was published.

The SNP’s move to intervene in the case has been questioned by opponents and legal experts after Dorothy Payne claimed she would make a “legal” argument.

In her letter to the High Court, Ms Payne wrote that Ms Sturgeon’s hope that the referendum would lead to Scottish independence was “not legally relevant”.

She said the Foreign Secretary’s referendum bill was only intended to “ascertain the wishes of the people of Scotland about their future”, which would have no legal effect beyond that.

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The lord’s counsel insisted that “any practical implications” of the vote are “speculative, consequential and indirect”.

Just a day after the request was posted online, it emerged that the SNP’s National Election Commission had unanimously agreed “on the recommendation of the party leader” that it would “make an application to interfere with the Lord Solicitor’s signal” of the proposed legislation to the High Court.

But opponents questioned yesterday whether the move to include the political argument would undermine Ms. Payne’s case.

Sarah Boyak, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Labor Constitution, said: “This is another transparent attempt to divert attention from the SNP’s failures in government.

“This court case is not about party politics – it’s about the law.

“Nicola Sturgeon appears to be undermining her government with this strange publicity stunt.”

Scottish Liberal Democratic Party deputy leader Wendy Chamberlain accused Ms Sturgeon of creating “more contradiction and confusion in this court case day by day”.

She said: “On the one hand, her chief legal officer will argue that the referendum bill should be approved because it’s just to find out what the people of Scotland want. On the other hand, she and her party will argue that the referendum bill should be approved because Scotland should secede from the United Kingdom.

“These are two different arguments.”

Ms Payne also confirmed that she would “personally” defend the case in favor of the Scottish government in October although she said she did not have the “necessary confidence” that Holyrood had the powers to hold a unilateral referendum.

Confirming that the SNP would seek to intervene in the case, SNP business manager Kirsten Oswald MP said: “Given the importance of this case to the future of Scotland, the NEC has determined that it is appropriate for the party to apply for intervention.”

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She claimed that the SNP as “the largest supportive party for independence” had “the legal position to represent the interests of a very large proportion of the population who support Scotland becoming an independent nation”.

Ms Oswald added: “We also have an important perspective on the legal issues that will be heard by the Court and, in particular, the importance of these matters being decided in a way that supports the right of the people of Scotland to have their views expressed and their democratic will.”

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