THE Supreme Court ruling on an independence referendum has exposed the “utter fiction” of the UK as a partnership of equals and will see the Yes movement reach “new heights”, the SNP’s depute leader has said.

While the party had proposed a new vote in October of next year, the court’s judgment that the Scottish Parliament needs Westminster approval for a legal referendum has paused discussion surrounding that date.

However, Keith Brown, the SNP’s depute leader since 2018, said the ruling will only intensify the demand for independence.

He said it “shattered forever the notion of the UK as a voluntary union of nations”, as he sent a warning to opposition politicians.

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Brown said: “It also laid bare the duplicity of the Westminster parties who are flagrantly breaching their own pledges to the people to respect Scottish democracy.

“But if those same parties think that this week has ended the debate on Scotland’s future, they couldn’t be more mistaken.

“It is a movement which will hit new heights by galvanising public opinion in every city, town, village and community the length and breadth of the country.”

Brown pointed to a joint statement which was issued by the leaders of the Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour Party and Scottish LibDems in June 2014, ahead of the independence referendum to mark their joint support for more devolution in the UK. It stated: “Power lies with the Scottish people, and we believe it is for the Scottish people to decide how we are governed.”

He also highlighted the Smith Commission report on devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament, published in November 2014.

The agreement, which involved all five of Scotland’s main political parties, said: “It is agreed that nothing in this report prevents Scotland becoming an independent country in the future, should the people of Scotland so choose.”

Brown said: “The Tories, Labour and the LibDems are breaking the promise they signed in 2014 in which they said it was for the Scottish people to decide how Scotland should be governed.

“It is for those parties to justify to the people why they now believe they can so arrogantly renege on those pledges. They should stop running scared of democracy and of a referendum they so clearly fear they would lose.

“The SNP will never give up on democracy and we are more determined than ever that democracy must and will prevail.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also spoken of how the Supreme Court judgment has “strengthened” the independence movement.

Addressing the SNP’s annual St Andrew’s dinner in Glasgow on Friday night, she said: “Wednesday’s judgment from the Supreme Court has galvanised the Yes movement right across Scotland. Thousands of people took to the streets – in freezing Scottish winter weather – to demonstrate their support for Scottish democracy.”