THE campaigner leading the court action aiming to prove Scotland does not need Westminster’s blessing to hold an independence referendum has called on the Lord Advocate to say exactly who he is representing.

Martin Keatings made his call after a Court of Session judge yesterday described as a “fishing diligence” a motion ahead of next week’s main hearing of the People’s Action on Section 30.

After hearing submissions from Keatings’ counsel Aidan O’Neill QC, and James Mure QC, for Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC, judge Lady Carmichael said: “Although it is presented as a motion necessary to enable the pursuer to make an existing case specific, it remains the case, despite the terms of the second conclusion that what is thought is diligence to enable the pursuer to make a completely new case and not to enable him to make an existing case more specific ... I therefore regard this as a fishing diligence, which falls to be refused”.

However, Keatings told The National legal action of such complexity could not be reported like football: “In the preliminary hearings, there is no win-loss. It’s a game of chess. Each hearing is just another piece being moved on the board.

“Nonetheless, for this ruling to have happened today, there was quite a bit of legal gymnastics, which is why ... our counsel specifically asked Lady Carmichael for a full written opinion on why she made the decision she did. She has now placed herself in the position where she has removed pertinent information which she herself will likely require in order to render the declarator we have sought.”

Keatings said the most concerning aspect of the hearing was the refusal by Wolffe’s counsel to stipulate who the Lord Advocate is representing.

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“I have to publicly call the Lord Advocate out and ask who exactly he is working for. He was convened in this action to represent the interests of the Scottish Parliament, not the Scottish Government. This is why we specifically named the Scottish ministers separately. They withdrew, yet the Scottish Government Legal Directorate seems to be representing the Lord Advocate.

“We have a Lord Advocate (representing parliament) being represented by the Scottish Government Legal Directorate (representing the Scottish Government) where the Lord Advocate is supposed to be representing the Scottish Parliament but is advancing arguments on behalf of the Scottish Government – in an action the Scottish Government are supposed to have withdrawn from.

“The Scottish Government seem to have dusted themselves in Lord Advocate coconut and are trying to pass themselves off as a parliamentary snowball.”

Keatings said this was antithetical to the principle of the separation of powers, but was not surprising given the Lord Advocate spent more time wearing his “Government hat” than his parliamentary one.

He said that although Wolffe is in the Scottish Cabinet, his post is not supposed to be political: “I need say no more than my legal counsel Aidan O’Neill QC said in the hearing ... that the Lord Advocate seems to be a Scottish Government mouthpiece and we do have to start asking how much political interference is going on due to the conflict of the Lord Advocate being a member of the Scottish Cabinet.

“My ultimate concern in the Lord Advocate continually dodging the question on who he is representing is that he is opening up the Scottish Government to accusations of political interference in a legal case to which they are no longer a party litigant by their own choice.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The pursuer in this case has chosen to bring an action naming the Scottish Government, the Lord Advocate, and the Advocate General for Scotland as defenders. The Scottish Government is not defending the action.

“The procedure which the pursuer has used raises important legal and constitutional issues of a technical and procedural nature unconnected to the issue of independence.

“These cannot be ignored and are the reason the Lord Advocate, as the Scottish Government’s senior law officer, has maintained defences dealing with those issues alone.

“The Lord Advocate does not represent the Scottish Parliament, but is the Scottish Government’s law officer and a member of the Scottish Government, and he also has duties from his office in upholding the proper operation of the law, courts and constitution.”