Is it possible for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom? If so, how would it do so? What are the steps it would take?

  • 1
    Scotland could, theoretically, give England their independence.
    – PCARR
    Oct 5, 2017 at 15:44
  • @PCARR If that's not a joke, I'm interested in the technicalities.
    – nmit026
    Oct 6, 2017 at 1:59
  • @nmit026 When Elizabeth I died, the next person in line was James VI of Scotland. Only much later did the two nations become the United Kingdom.
    – Caleth
    Oct 6, 2017 at 8:52

1 Answer 1


Yes, it's possible.

Scotland can hold a referendum, however it would require the consent of the British Parliament for it to be legally binding as according to the Consultation on a Draft Referendum Bill issued by the Scottish government.

This is because these matters are known as "reserved matters" which the UK Parliament remains sovereign.

1.4 In the 2014 referendum, an Order in Council under section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 was agreed by Westminster and the Scottish Parliament, recognising the mandate of the Scottish Government, and the support of the Scottish Parliament, for a referendum on independence. The Order put it beyond doubt that the Scottish Parliament could legislate for that referendum. If the Scottish Government decided to formally introduce this Bill to Parliament, it would be expected that a section 30 order would be sought and agreed, as in 2014.

(emphasis mine)

In the meantime, it seems that the UK won't be giving the permission for Scotland to have a legally binding 2nd independence referendum.

  • An advisory referendum presented as binding? That'll never fly.
    – billpg
    Mar 31, 2017 at 20:48

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