THE UK Government has submitted its legal argument against Scotland holding an independence referendum without Westminster's consent.

The Conservative government has asked the Supreme Court for permission to publish the submission in full.

It comes after the Tories failed in their bid to have the top court throw out the case before hearing evidence, claiming it was "premature".

Scotland's top law officer, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC, referred a prospective referendum bill to the Supreme Court last month to ascertain if it was within the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish Government published its draft bill, which would legislate for a referendum on October 19, 2023, in late June.

Oral arguments are due to be heard in the case in October, but the Advocate General for Scotland Keith Stewart QC submitted the case against the bill being within the legislative competence of Holyrood on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the UK Government said: “People across Scotland want both their governments to be working together on the issues that matter to them and their families, not talking about another independence referendum.

“We have today submitted our written case to the Supreme Court, in accordance with its timetable.

“On the question of legislative competence, the UK Government’s clear view remains that a bill legislating for a referendum on independence would be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.”

In its submission to the court, put in last month, the Scottish Government leaned heavily on any future referendum not being “self-executing”, meaning it would be purely advisory and only meant as a way to ascertain the views of the Scottish people.

Law experts are split on whether this would be legal. Adam Tomkins, the Glasgow University professor and former Tory MSP, said in June that a consultative ballot would be within Holyrood's powers.

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The SNP have also made an attempt to intervene in the case, arguing that – as a public body – it would be “fair, just and reasonable” for the party to make arguments to the court.

If the court rules that holding the consultative ballot is outside of Holyrood’s powers, Sturgeon has pledged to use the next General Election as a de-facto independence referendum.

There is little chance of a UK prime minister granting a Section 30 order, which would sidestep the legal issue by allowing Holyrood to legislate for a referendum as it did for the 2014 vote.

Boris Johnson, the outgoing Tory leader, is set to be replaced by either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak in September. Both candidates have been emphatic they would rule out a second independence referendum.