Exactly two years ahead of Scotland’s planned day of independence on March 24th 2016, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has set out a timetable for delivering Scotland’s interim written constitution.
As part of her Wales Governance Centre Annual Lecture in Cardiff, Ms Sturgeon announced that – as part of the Scottish Government’s ongoing preparations for the transition to independence, should people choose it in the referendum – the draft Scottish Independence Bill will be published before the Scottish Parliament’s summer recess.
The Bill will provide for Scotland to become an independent state in March 2016 and set out its interim constitution. The fundamental principle underpinning the Bill will be that, in Scotland, the people are sovereign. This core principle resonates throughout Scotland’s history and will be the foundation stone for Scotland as an independent country. The Bill will also set in place the process by which Scotland, as an independent country, will prepare its permanent written constitution in a fully participative process led by the people.
Following a vote for independence, the Scottish Independence Bill would be introduced to the Scottish Parliament. It would form the interim written constitution for Scotland until the constitutional convention, which would be established by the Scottish Parliament elected in May 2016, prepared a permanent constitution for Scotland.
As First Minister Alex Salmond outlined last year, that constitutional convention will involve input from a wide cross-section of civic Scotland, articulating the nation’s values and enshrining them in a permanent written constitution.