Scottish Independence: The Supreme Court's had it's say. Now it's the people's turn - Lorna Slater

Last week the Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to call a referendum on independence without Westminster's approval.

In doing so it underlined the severe restrictions and limitations of the current devolution settlement.

It was only 18 months ago that Scotland voted for the biggest pro-referendum and pro-independence majority of MSPs since devolution began. Yet, under its current powers, the Scottish Parliament is unable to enact the mandate on which it was elected. That's not fair, and it's not democratic.

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The judgement puts the onus firmly on the UK Government to explain what the alternative democratic pathway is.

Independence supporters wave Saltire flags during a rally outside the Scottish Parliament following the announcement of the Supreme Court's ruling

Both the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, and the Scottish Tory leader, Douglas Ross, have said that the Act of Union is a voluntary union. If that is the case then what mechanisms are available for any part of the UK that seeks independence?

It’s an incredibly basic question, but it's one that none of the pro-Union parties or their leaders have come close to answering. They insist that the UK Government has Scotland’s best interests at heart, but we are constantly being ruled by Tory Prime Ministers that we didn't vote for, and are extremely unlikely to any time soon.

Whether it is the bedroom tax, the child benefit cap or the Universal Credit cut, all of these terrible policies were rejected by Scotland but inflicted by Westminster.

We have tried to mitigate the damage that they are doing with the limited powers we have. However, that is becoming increasingly difficult when working with a budget that has already been cut in real terms and is being further devalued by runaway inflation.

Independence is about giving us the opportunity to do things differently. It is about ensuring that Scotland gets the policies and governments that it votes for.

I am very proud of our record in government. But I have seen first hand the ways that we are being held back.

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With the powers of independence we could build on the progress we have made and deliver even more of the positive changes that are so vital for our economy and environment.

We would be far better placed to tackle the cuts, chaos and climate destruction that are being inflicted by Downing Street.

So much has changed since 2014. Back then we were promised the financial stability of a UK that would remain in the European Union. What we got was the exact opposite.

The Prime Minister and his colleagues still have the chance to do the right thing by allowing a free and fair referendum.

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If they are not willing to do so then there will be no option other than to treat the next general election as a de facto referendum on independence.

It is not our first choice. But if it is the only course available to us then it is what we will have to do.

Every vote for the Scottish Greens will be regarded as a vote for independence and for our positive, progressive and green vision.

The Court has made its judgement. Now it is time for the people of Scotland to have their say.

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Lorna Slater is the minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity