Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC, Scotland’s most senior law officer, has argued in the Supreme Court that Scotland is entitled to a vote before Article 50 is triggered. Although he claims that he did not ask for it, he gives the impression that Scotland could actually veto Brexit. He argues that there is high legislative impact on Scotland with Brexit and England is constitutionally obliged to consult with the Scottish Parliament on devolved matters in accordance with the Scotland Act.
The Act of Union, forbids the UK Government from triggering Article 50 without the consent of Members of the Scottish Parliament. He argues that this case is on who has the power to change the law of the land. He placed constitutional arguments on for the need of a legislative consent motion to be passed in Scottish Parliament.
Mr Richard Gordon QC representing the Welsh Government also stated that conventions cannot be ignored, and Parliament cannot legislate to give the Government powers it does not have.
The 11 judges also heard that the court is not being asked to turn the referendum result but that there was a process for its implementation that had to be observed.
Observers however, do claim that if a referendum is held in any of the Union Act members there would be a possibility for a non-exit. In the Scottish independence referendum the EU advantages were a major role and analysts believe that this was a major deciding factor on the decision not to go for independence. This may be true when it comes to the general public. On the other hand it does not seem to be the case when it comes to business optimism.
The vast majority of small and medium enterprises in Scotland are confident about their future despite likely economic headwinds. Figures produced for Aldemore Bank indicate that 85 percent of SMEs predict revenues to either grow or hold steady in 2017. Half of those predicting to grow are to launch new products or services. 59 percent of respondents said that leaving the EU will either have no impact on their business or it will have a positive impact. This is ironic when the majority of the Scots votes cast to remain within the EU.
The reality is that it is premature to talk on the effects that Brexit will have on the Scottish economy. The true impact will be seen post 2017. Although Scotland is highly dependent on exports to the UK which represent 65 percent of the country’ s exports there is still a significant exports to the EU which in 2014 were equivalent to GBP 11.6 billion (http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/Exports/ESSPublication) Consequently, Brexit will have its effects and Scotland does have a high interest to ensure that it has a voice in the negotiations of Brexit.