Scotland: The Quest for Independence Will Continue Under New First Minister


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The pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) has elected a new leader, who will likely become the First Minister of Scotland later today. A key question that follows is what this means for the Scottish independence movement and the overall cohesion of the UK. In our view, the path to Scottish independence is highly uncertain. The chances for independence look diminished after the UK Supreme Court ruling in November 2022. However, we do not expect the issue of Scottish independence to go away. The SNP remains the largest party in the Scottish parliament and its leaders are likely to continue to push for a second referendum on Scotland’s independence.

Key Highlights
• The SNP will continue to pursue Scottish independence, but a new strategy on a referendum is unclear after efforts suffered a major setback last year.
• The UK Supreme Court ruling in 2022 reduced the risk of a break-up of the UK in the near term by ruling out a referendum.
• Some uncertainty remains over the UK's constitutional integrity in the long term, as there is still support for Scottish Independence.

“We expect Scottish Independence to remain high in the new first minister’s agenda although a new strategy is not yet clear,” said Adriana Alvarado, Senior Vice President in the Global Sovereign Ratings Group. “At the moment, the path towards Scottish independence seems blocked after the UK Supreme Court ruled last year that the Scottish government doesn’t have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence.”

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