NICOLA Sturgeon has said she is “disappointed” after losing her gamble to secure a second independence referendum at the Supreme Court, but claimed the failure would help “make the case for Indy”.

The First Minister also said she respected the ruling.

The case cost Scottish taxpayers more than £150,000.

Five justices unanimously ruled this morning that Holyrood cannot hold Indyref2 without Westminster’s consent, as the First Minister had hoped would be possible.

It means the Scottish Government’s draft Referendum Bill cannot be introduced at Holyrood, as it is incompetent, and Ms Sturgeon’s plan for a vote on 19 October 2023 is dead.

Responding on Twitter, Ms Sturgeon said: “While disappointed by it I respect ruling of @UKSupremeCourt - it doesn't make law, only interprets it. 

“A law that doesn't allow Scotland to choose our own future without Westminster consent exposes as myth any notion of the UK as a voluntary partnership & makes case for Indy.

"Scottish democracy will not be denied.

"Today’s ruling blocks one route to Scotland’s voice being heard on independence - but in a democracy our voice cannot and will not be silenced."

She said she would make a full statement on the issue at 1130am. 

Ms Sturgeon has previously said that if the Court ruled against her she would fight the next general election as a 'de facto' referendum on the single question of independence.

However one of her MPs today said that was not certain.

Angus Brendan MacNeil said the SNP could use the next general election, due by January 2025, or the next Holyrood election in 2026 to fight the issue.

However his preference would be for Ms Sturgeon to bring  about an early Holyrood election and use that.

Scotland was currently a "hostage" inside the Union, he said.

The UK Supreme Court has today determined that the draft Scottish Independence Referendum Bill is outside the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, said the UK Government would "respect the unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court today."

He added: “People in Scotland want both their governments to be concentrating all attention and resources on the issues that matter most to them.

"That’s why we are focussed on issues like restoring economic stability, getting people the help they need with their energy bills, and supporting our NHS.

“Today alone, 11.6 million UK pensioners – around one million in Scotland – are starting to receive up to £600 to help with their energy bills this winter.

“As the Prime Minister has made clear, we will continue to work constructively with the Scottish Government in tackling all the challenges we share and face.”

Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar said: "It was right for the Scottish Government to seek legal clarity on this question.

"The Supreme Court's answer was clear and I thank them for their speedy work in this case.

"We must now focus on the problems facing our country, from rising bills to the crisis in our NHS.

“There is not a majority in Scotland for a referendum or independence, neither is there a majority for the status quo." 

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said independence supporters needed to respect the court's decision.

“I welcome the Supreme Court’s unanimous judgment that the constitution is a matter reserved to the UK Parliament, and that Nicola Sturgeon’s referendum bill would not be legal.

“This was a clear and unequivocal verdict delivered by the highest court in the country – and the SNP Government and their supporters must respect it.

“Nicola Sturgeon insisted on taking this case to the Supreme Court at the cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Scottish taxpayer – and this ruling confirms that it was a waste of time and money.

“The Scottish people have made it clear in poll after poll that they don’t want another referendum next year.

“The country faces enormous challenges right now. Our economy and our NHS are in crisis. We have a wave of public-sector strikes – including the first teachers’ strike in almost four decades. These key issues must be everyone’s top priority."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “This is an embarrassing defeat for the First Minister.

“Scores of legal experts warned that the law is clear and that this case was a complete waste of Supreme Court time and taxpayers’ money, but the Scottish Government would not listen.

“It has been a terrible use of funds at a time when every penny should be squeezed to help people through the cost of living crisis.

"Breaking up the UK simply isn’t a priority for people opening their bills with dread or struggling to get the treatment they need.

“I have lost count of how many times the First Minister has launched independence campaigns, each with less energy and momentum than the last. While Nicola Sturgeon goes through the motions people wait days for an ambulance, months for NHS treatment and years for lifeline ferries.

“It is time the SNP Government finally focus on what really matters. What Scotland needs now is new hope not old divisions.”

Scottish Greens Co-leader, Lorna Slater said the decision underlined "the huge limitations and shortcomings of the devolution settlement."

She said: “Last year’s Scottish Green and SNP manifestos were very clear. We pledged to give Scotland a choice over our future through a fair and democratic referendum.

"A record number of people gave the Scottish Greens their vote on this basis. 

“We are grateful to the Supreme Court for their consideration.

"This judgement underlines the huge limitations and shortcomings of the devolution settlement and places the question firmly in the political arena.

“The Union is meant to be a voluntary partnership; the responsibility is now with the UK Government to explain how Scotland can exercise its democratic right to determine its own future. Otherwise, the Union is being imposed on the people of Scotland without democratic consent." 

Murray Etherington, President of the Law Society of Scotland said the judgment provided "definitive clarification on the law."

He added: “Any referendum on Scottish independence must be lawful to ensure the outcome is clear and unambiguous.

“The Supreme Court judges have held that a referendum on Scottish independence relates to the Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England and the sovereignty of the UK Parliament so is a matter which is reserved to Westminster.

"The Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate for the referendum unless that power is extended by a statutory order under section 30 of the Scotland Act 1998 or otherwise.”