A MINISTER in the Scottish Government and a second SNP MSP have backed Alba’s plans for a referendum on Holyrood’s powers, Ash Regan has claimed.

The Alba MSP, who defected from the SNP in October, is looking to get a draft member’s bill proposed to the Scottish Parliament on plans to hold a vote on the 10th anniversary of indyref1 – September 18, 2024.

Regan, following legal advice obtained by Alba from constitutional law specialist Aidan O’Neill KC, is seeking to ask the Scottish public if Holyrood should “have the power to negotiate and legislate for Scottish independence”.

In order for her member’s bill to move forward, it needs the support of “at least 18 other MSPs, from a number of political parties”, according to the Scottish Parliament website.

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Writing on social media, Regan said she had the support of two SNP MSPs, one of whom is a minister in government. She did not name either.

“I believe this draft bill creates a clear, achievable and coherent roadmap towards independence,” Regan wrote.

“It is disappointing that one SNP MSP and one member of the Government has approached me to back it. Independence should be front and centre of all parties who claim to be pro-indy.”

She added: “There is nothing to stop our Parliament proposing a referendum which we believe would be within competence, and that is to ask the people whether they believe the powers of the Parliament should be extended to include the right to legislate for and negotiate independence.

“That is what my proposed new draft bill does.”

The Supreme Court ruled in late 2022 that holding an independence referendum is outwith Holyrood’s competence as it “relates to” reserved matters.

Pointing to O’Neill’s advice, Alba say that a referendum on Holyrood’s powers would be within competence, but other legal experts have questioned how far those arguments will track.

“Given that this would almost certainly be seen as a proxy for a referendum on independence itself, I imagine that the Supreme Court would regard this as relating to the reserved matter of the Union, in the same way as the draft independence referendum bill,” Durham University public law professor Aileen McHarg previously told The National.

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Responding, Alba general secretary Chris McEleny said: “Ash Regan wouldn’t have any difficulty stating that the proposed referendum on the powers of the Scottish Parliament bill is within competence as she has an expert legal opinion from one of the country’s most respected KCs that says so.”

O’Neill’s advice suggests the Supreme Court may be guilty of judicial overreach, adding: “The UK Supreme Court can only be required to face up to this judicial overreach by the Scottish Parliament exercising its democratically founded legitimacy by passing new referendum legislation with a newly worded question.”