THE prospect of a second independence referendum has drawn even closer with the historic verdict by the UK Supreme Court that while the Westminster Parliament must pass a law to trigger Article 50 for Brexit, the Scottish Parliament doesn’t legally need to be consulted on the issue.

The Article 50 Bill will be presented to the House of Commons tomorrow, and The National has learned that the Conservative Government intends to impose a strict timetable of less than three weeks for both Houses of Parliament to pass the Bill.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reacted strongly saying promises of consultation over Brexit were “not worth the paper they are written on” and added: “Is it better that we take our future into our own hands? It is becoming ever clearer that this is a choice that Scotland must make.”

Brexit Minister Mike Russell will make a statement to the Holyrood Parliament on the judgement today.

He said last night: “Time is running out for the UK Government to show how it intends to respect Scotland’s interests. If it does not, the Scottish people will face a choice as to whether we continue down the damaging path of a hard Brexit, or choose a better way for Scotland.”

The party’s Westminster spokesman on Brexit, former First Minister Alex Salmond, promised 50 amendments to the Article 50 Bill, and said: “The prime minister and her hard Brexit brigade must treat devolved administrations as equal partners – as indeed she promised to do.

“If Theresa May is intent on being true to her word that Scotland and the other devolved administrations are equal partners in this process, then now is the time to show it.”

In a little over seven minutes yesterday morning, the Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger delivered a judgement that finally ended the illegality put forward by Prime Minister Theresa May and her Government that Article 50 and Brexit could be triggered without an Act of Parliament.

In a resounding victory for businesswoman Gina Miller and her co-plaintiffs, the Supreme Court ruled by eight judges to three to dismiss the UK Government’s appeal against a High Court decision that an Act of Parliament is required to authorise ministers to give notice of the decision of the UK to withdraw from the EU.

The Supreme Court also ruled unanimously that the Westminster Government does not have to consult the devolved administrations within the UK before triggering Article 50.

The court’s decisions are certain to cause a major constitutional crisis in the UK, not least because there is now no legal bar to the UK Government doing what it wants to Scotland, even against the declared will of the Scottish people who voted by 62 per cent to remain in the EU.

David Davis said in the Commons that the ruling would not alter the Government’s plans to trigger Article 50 before the end of March.

He said there would be “the most straightforward bill possible to give the decision of the people and respect the Supreme Court judgement”.

Davis also stated that Parliament would have “many, many votes” on any deals with the EU once Article 50 is triggered, including a final vote on the revised arrangements. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It is a damning indictment of a UK Government that it believed it could press on towards a hard Brexit with no regard to Parliament whatsoever.

“SNP MPs will seek to work with others across the House of Commons to stop the march towards a hard Brexit in its tracks.

“We are obviously disappointed with the Supreme Court’s ruling in respect of the devolved administrations and the legal enforceability of the Sewel Convention.

“It is now crystal clear that the promises made to Scotland by the UK Government about the Sewel Convention and the importance of embedding it in statute were not worth the paper they were written on.

“Although the court has concluded that the UK Government is not legally obliged to consult the devolved administrations, there remains a clear political obligation to do so.

“The Scottish Government will bring forward a Legislative Consent Motion and ensure that the Scottish Parliament has the opportunity to vote on whether or not it consents to the triggering of Article 50.

“However, it is becoming clearer by the day that Scotland’s voice is simply not being heard or listened to within the UK. The claims about Scotland being an equal partner are being exposed as nothing more than empty rhetoric and the very foundations of the devolution settlement that are supposed to protect our interests – such as the statutory embedding of the Sewel Convention – are being shown to be worthless.

“This raises fundamental issues above and beyond that of EU membership. Is Scotland content for our future to be dictated by an increasingly right-wing Westminster Government with just one MP here – or is it better that we take our future into our own hands?”