NICOLA Sturgeon has hit back at the Scottish Conservative leader after he called it a “disgrace” that the Supreme Court has been asked to rule on the legality of Scotland holding an independence referendum without the UK’s permission.

Speaking as the hearing kicked off on Tuesday, Douglas Ross branded it the “legal battle that nobody wants”. He argued that it was the First Minister who had “driven Scotland’s two governments into a legal showdown”.

However, he failed to mention that it was Westminster’s refusal to offer a Section 30 order despite Holyrood’s pro-independence majority that led to Sturgeon’s government referring legislation to the court.

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Responding to the Moray MP’s criticism, the FM said: “Douglas Ross’s comments, in that regard, are deeply hypocritical.

“It is a disgrace that the Scottish Government, the Lord Advocate’s reference had to be made. If Westminster, and Douglas Ross’s party, just respected Scottish democracy a court action wouldn’t be necessary.

“It’s not my fault, it’s the fault of Douglas Ross and his party.”

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The FM encouraged Ross to reflect on his “ill-informed” claims.

She went on to say that she wouldn’t be providing a “running commentary” on the legal case going through the Supreme Court over Tuesday and Wednesday.

The National:

“[The court] will consider the arguments, it will consider the case of both sides of this argument and it will reach its view,” she told the media.

“I respect the rule of law and it’s important that a referendum is lawful and constitutional, and that is what we are hoping will be the outcome of this. But the judges will reach their view and they will do it in the time that they decide is needed and I’m happy to leave it in their hands at the moment.”