The Scottish Government has published for public consultation a draft of its proposed ‘interim constitution’ for Scotland, which would come into place from the day Scotland becomes an independent country.
It describes how Scotland would be governed and what rights people living in Scotland would have if there was a Yes vote in September’s independence referendum.
The second section reads in full: “In Scotland, the people are sovereign.”
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the principle of that provision was “key to the argument for independence”, stating in a keynote speech at the University of Edinburgh: “There are better outcomes for Scotland when decisions about Scotland are made in Scotland by the people of Scotland. Sovereignty means the people of Scotland always getting the government we vote for to govern our country the way we want.”
The draft interim constitution includes provisions about citizenship, human rights, nuclear disarmament, and EU law.
It also affirms that an independent Scotland would be “an independent, constitutional monarchy” with the UK’s present monarch as head of state.
The proposed constitution is published as part of the draft Scottish Independence Bill, which is to be passed by the Scottish Parliament in the event of a Yes vote to fulfil “three key purposes”:
- to provide for Scotland to become an independent State
- to provide an interim constitution for Scotland from Independence Day, and
- to provide for the establishment of a Constitutional Convention to draw up a permanent written constitution for an independent Scotland.
The Scottish Government says it has included details on how an independent Scotland could prepare a permanent written constitution in a “fully participative process led by the people”.
Sturgeon said that independence would provide the people of Scotland with “power over our own destiny” and the writing of a permanent constitution would be “an exciting and unique opportunity to shape our nation, celebrate and protect our values and commit ourselves to building a better country”.
But Labour’s Jackie Bailie MSP, speaking on behalf of the pro-Union Better Together campaign, said Scots were “more interested” in hearing about the cost of establishing an independent Scottish state.
She told BBC News: “Keeping these details from Scots simply isn’t credible.”