This initiative offers settlement options to conflict parties and those supporting them in the search for peace.

A settlement is possible

Key Documents 9

Negotiation News 9

Additional Resources 9


Key events and dates

24 March 1603

The Union of the Crowns. The accession of James VI, King of Scots, to the thrones of England and Ireland and the unification of the three realms under a single monarch for certain purposes.

30 April 1707

The Treaty of Union forms the United Kingdom of Great Britain, including the parliamentary union of England and Scotland. The Union with England Act is adopted by the Scottish Parliament and the Union with Scotland Act is adopted by the English Parliament to give effect to the treaty. Scotland retains its own legal and educational systems. 


The first Jacobite uprising. British forces put down an attempt by the exiled House of Stuart to reclaim the throne. 


The second Jacobite uprising. Another attempt by the House of Stuart to reclaim the throne ends in defeat at the battle of Culloden. 

24 April 1916

The Provisional Government of the Irish Republic issues a proclamation of independence from the United Kingdom. 

31 March 1922

The Anglo-Irish Treaty establishes the Irish Free State and an option for Northern Ireland to opt out of the Irish Free State. The Parliament of Northern Ireland exercised this right to remain in the United Kingdom. 

7 April 1934

The Scottish National Party (SNP) is established. 


The SNP wins its first seat in parliament at Westminster. 

6 February 1952

Queen Elizabeth II becomes Queen of the United Kingdom. 

18 May 1968

Edward Heath, then leader of the British Conservative Party, makes the Perth Declaration in which he pledges his party’s support for Scottish devolution.  

August 1968

The Scottish Constitutional Committee, chaired by Sir Alec Douglas-Home, is established by Edward Heath to consider the creation of a Scottish Parliament.  

15 April 1969

The Royal Commission on the Constitution is established under Harold Wilson’s Labour Government. It begins its work under Lord Crowther (Crowther Commission), and then under Lord Kilbrandon (Kilbrandon Commission). The commission is set up in response to demands for autonomy or independence for Wales and Scotland, and tasked to consider whether changes should be made to the constitutional structure of the United Kingdom to allow for devolution.  

March 1970

The Scottish Constitutional Committee hands down its final report on the “The Scottish Government” recommending the creation of a Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh with 125 elected members and powers to initiate, debate and pass legislative bills.  

1 January 1973

Accession of the United Kingdom to the European Economic Community (EEC), which would later become the European Union (EU). 

31 October 1973

The Royal Commission on the Constitution (Kilbrandon Commission) hands down its final report, which recommends devolved parliamentary assemblies for Scotland and Wales. 

June 1975

Oil production commences in the North Sea. The McCrone Report, which was commissioned by the UK Government under Prime Minister Edward Heat to examine the economic implications of Scotland’s independence, is completed. This report would become public in 2005 under freedom of information legislation. 

1 March 1979

A post-legislative referendum is held in Scotland to determine whether there is sufficient support for the devolved Scottish Assembly proposed in the Scotland Act 1978. Although a majority (51.6%) of voters supported the proposal, an amendment to the Act stated that it would be repealed if less than 40% of the total electorate voted in favour. Since the turnout for the referendum was only 64%, the “Yes” vote failed to reach the requisite threshold. 

July 1988

A constitutional steering committee, composed of prominent Scots and set up by the Campaign for a Scottish Assembly, recommends a Scottish Constitutional Convention with broad-based representation, to plan Scotland’s future governance. The Conservative Party declined to participate and the SNP ultimately did not accept the principles of the Convention. The constitutional committee drafts a report on “A Claim of Right for Scotland”. 

30 March 1989

The Scottish Constitutional Convention holds its inaugural meeting. While the Scottish Labour Party and Scottish Liberal Democrats support the Convention, the Conservative Party declines to participate, and the SNP ultimately does not accept its principles of consensus. The members of the Convention sign a declaration – “A Claim of Right“.

30 November 1990

The Scottish Constitutional Convention launches its first report “Towards Scotland’s Parliament: A Report to the Scottish People” to outline principles for a devolved Scottish Parliament.

November 1995

The Scottish Constitutional Convention launches its second report “Scotland’s Parliament, Scotland’s Right” to further articulate the principles for a devolved Scottishin Parliament.

11 September 1997

A pre-legislative referendum is held in Scotland to determine whether there is sufficient support for the creation of a devolved Scottish Parliament with tax-varying powers. A significant majority (74.29%) vote in favour with an overall turnout of 60.4%. 

November 1997

The Consultative Steering Group on the Scottish Parliament is established by the UK Secretary of State for Scotland following the affirmative outcome of the referendum on a devolved Scottish Parliament. It is tasked to examine the operational needs and working methods of a Scottish Parliament, and to develop proposal on its rules of procedure and standing orders. 

December 1998

The Consultative Steering Group on the Scottish Parliament hands down its report on “Shaping Scotland’s Parliament“. 

12 May 1999

The Scottish Parliament is established and assigned devolved powers (including tax-varying powers) by the Scotland Act 1998. The SNP becomes the second largest party in the Scottish Parliament, behind the Labour Party. 

3 May 2007

The SNP forms a minority government under Alex Salmond, as First Minister, after Scottish Parliamentary elections. This was the first time that the SNP had formed a government in the Scottish Parliament.

14 August 2007

The National Conversation on Scotland’s Constitutional Future is launched by the Scottish Government under First Minister, Alex Salmond. This was a key policy objective of the Scottish National Party’s minority government. It involved public consultation on potential changes to the devolved powers of the Scottish Parliament and on the possibility of Scottish independence. 

5 May 2011

Scottish Parliament elections lead to a majority government formed by the SNP under Alex Salmond. Out of 129 possible seats, the SNP won 69 seats, against Labour’s 37 seats. A key policy for the SNP’s campaign was a call for UK legislation to give Scotland a referendum on independence. 

15 October 2012

The Edinburgh Agreement is reached between the Scottish Government and the UK Government to work together to ensure that a referendum can take place on Scotland’s independence with a clear legal basis, which would be subsequently provided under the Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Act 2013.

November 2013

The Scottish Government publishes “Scotland’s Future” to make the case for Scottish independence.

16 June 2014

In the lead up to the referendum on Scottish independence, the Scottish Conservatives, Labour Party and Liberal Democrats make a joint statement in support of further devolved powers for Scotland.  

18 September 2014

The referendum on Scottish independence is held. The majority vote ‘No’ (55.3%) with a 84.6% turnout. Due to the result, Alex Salmond resigns as First Minister and as leader of the SNP.  

November 2014

Nicola Sturgeon is elected as leader of the SNP, and subsequently appointed First Minister of Scotland.   

7 May 2015

In the UK general election, the Conservatives win an overall majority. The SNP receives 50.0% of the Scottish vote and 56 out of the 59 contested Scottish seats for the UK Parliament, replacing the Liberal Democrats as the third largest party in the House of Commons.  

23 June 2016

The Conservative Government, under Prime Minister David Cameron, holds a referendum on the UK’s continuing membership in the European Union. The majority of voters across the UK (51.89%) vote to ‘Leave’ the European Union. However, within Scotland, 62% vote to ‘Remain’. In the lead up to the referendum, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, stated that she believed a second independence referendum for Scotland would “almost certainly” be demanded by the Scottish people if the UK votes to leave, while Scotland votes to remain.

24 June 2016

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces her intention to prepare legislation for a second Scottish independence referendum due to the change in circumstances brought about by Brexit.

20 October 2016

The Scottish Government publishes a draft legislative bill for consultation on a second Scottish independence referendum.

13 March 2017

Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announces plans to stage a second independence referendum within two years. As justifications, the First Minister cited the refusal of the UK Government to discuss full Scottish access to the EU single market and the threat of heavy restrictions on the new powers for Scotland after Brexit.

16 March 2017

UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, rejects calls for a second Scottish referendum prior to the implementation of Brexit. While she did not rule out another referendum, she stated that it was not the time, since all energies should be invested into negotiating Brexit. 

24 May 2019

Theresa May announces that she will resign as the UK Prime Minister after her draft EU withdrawal agreement was rejected by Parliament on three occassions.  

24 July 2019

Boris Johnson is appointed as the as the new UK Prime Minister to replace Theresa May.  

29 October 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls a snap general election to be held in December 2019 in response to the failure to pass a revised Brexit withdrawal agreement through the UK Parliament.   

November 2019

In his campaign for the election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a ‘cast iron’ pledge not to grant Nicola Sturgeon the powers to hold a second independence referendum, regardless of whether the SNP wins a majority of Scottish seats in the general election or whether they win a pro-independence majority in the 2021 Scottish parliamentary elections.  

12 December 2019

At the UK General Election, the Conservative Party wins an overall majority under Boris Johnson’s leadership with a mandate to pass his revised Brexit wilthdrawal agreement. The SNP wins 48 out of 59 Scottish seats and Nicola Sturgeon describes the result as a clear and undeniable mandate to hold a second independence referendum for Scotland.  

13 December 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejects any moves towards a second independence referendum stating that the result of the 2016 referendum should be respected.  

19 December 2019

The Scottish Government releases its bluebrint report for holding a second referendum entitled ‘Scotland’s Right to Choose‘. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon makes a formal request to the UK Prime Minister for a section 30 order that would provide the legal basis for a second referendum to be held in 2020. Prime Minister Boris Johnson publicly rejects the request.   

19 December 2019

Boris Johnson formally rejects, by letter, the Scottish First Minister’s request for a section 30 order on the basis that the 2016 referendum was understood to be a ‘once in a generation vote’.

31 January 2020

Brexit: The UK withdraws from the European Union based on the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, which ratifies the Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union.    

18 March 2020

The Scottish Government announces that it will pause plans to hold a second referendum in 2020 due to the coronavirus epidemic.   

December 2020

UK Parliament passes the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 which aims to prevent internal barriers to trade in the United Kingdom after exit from the European Single Market. It constrains the capacity of devolved institutions to exercise their legislative capacity to apply economic and social policies inconsistent with those of Westminster. Through the Act, the UK Government also reestablished control over structural funds that were previously disbursed by the EU, instead of allocating those funds to the devolved governments to spend.

23 January 2021

The SNP announces plans for the Scottish Parliament to attempt to legislate for another referendum even if the UK Government refuses to provide a legal basis for that vote by an act of UK Parliament. First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, vowed that she would hold a second referendum if she wins re-election in the 2021 Scottish elections. 

8 February 2021

The Alba Party is founded and registered with the electoral commission as an alternative pro-independence party. 

8 March 2021

The Scottish Government publishes a report on the implications of the United Kingdom Internal Market Act for devolution.  

26 March 2021

Former First Minister Alex Salmond announces that he is joining the Alba Party as its new leader.   

6 May 2021

In Scottish parliamentary elections, the SNP falls one seat short of an outright majority, but forms minority government with the Scottish Greens party. The case for an independence referendum is affirmed by the SNP on the basis that a majority was achieved across the pro-independence parties.  

8 May 2021

The Scottish Government agrees with the UK Conservative Government that no plans for a referendum should proceed while efforts are ongoing to bring the coronavirus epidemic under control. 

September 2021

The Scottish Government renew efforts to normalise expectations concerning a second Scottish referendum with dedicated attention from Scottish civil servants to sell the benefits of an independent Scotland. According to a Politico poll, 43% of Scottish voters agreed that Scotland should only hold another referendum if the UK Government agreed, while 38% disagreed. 

14 June 2022

The Scottish Government publishes the first paper in the “Building a New Scotland” series on “Independence in the modern world“. 

28 June 2022

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, makes a statement proposing 19 October 2023 as the date for a second independence referendum, with the same question as the 2014 referendum. She stated that she had made a formal request to Prime Minister Boris Johnson for legal authorisation for the referendum. However, she signalled an intention to hold the referendum in any case, but stressed that it would need to “indisputably lawful”. The UK Supreme Court would be asked to rule on whether Scotland had the power to hold the referendum without UK Government approval. 

5 July 2022

The Scottish Government lodges its reference to the UK Supreme Court, asking it to decide on whether the Scottish Parliament can legislate for a vote without Westminster approval.  

6 July 2022

By letter to the First Minister, Prime Minister Boris Johnson formally rejects the request for legal authority to hold a second independence referendum. He stated that he cannot agree that now is the time to return to a question already answered by the 2014 referendum. 

14 July 2022

The Scottish Government publishes the second paper in the “Building A New Scotland” series on “Renewing democracy through independence“.  

22 July 2022

The Lord Advocate for Scotland submits the written case of the Scottish Government to the UK Supreme Court on whether the Scottish Parliament could legislate to hold a referendum without Westminster approval. The Scottish Government also publishes the Draft Scottish Independence Referendum Bill

17 October 2022

The Scottish Government publishes the third paper in the “Building a New Scotland” series on “A stronger economy with independence“. 

23 November 2022

The UK Supreme Court hands down its judgment, deciding that the Scottish Government did not have authority to legislate to conduct a consultative referendum without Westminster approval. In response, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivers a speech in which she affirms the Scottish Government’s commitment to proceed by legal and democratic means, but also reaffirms the SNP’s commitment to negotiate a referral of authority from Westminster based on its democratic mandate from the Scottish people for an independence, and particularly at the next UK general election. The UK Government also released a statement on the Supreme Court’s decision.

15 February 2023

Nicola Sturgeon resigns as First Minister and as leader of the SNP.

March 2023

Humza Youssef is elected as the leader of the SNP, and subsequently appointed First Minister of Scotland.

19 June 2023

The Scottish Government publishes the fourth paper in the “Building a New Scotland” series on “Creating a modern constitution for an independent Scotland“. 

25 July 2023

The Scottish Government publishes the fifth paper in the “Building a New Scotland” series on “Citizenship in an independent Scotland“. 

15 October 2023

The SNP publishes a new strategy for winning Scotland’s independence. The plan aims to use the next general election to push for another referendum based on a political mandate from the Scottish people. 

3 November 2023

The Scottish Government publishes the sixth paper in the “Building a New Scotland” series on “Migration to Scotland after independence“. 

17 November 2023

The Scottish Government publishes the seventh paper in the “Building a New Scotland” series on “An independent Scotland in the EU“. 

30 November 2023

As leader of the Alba Party, Alex Salmond launches a new Scottish independence plan. The plan commits to a referendum to be held in 2024 on the tenth anniversary of the 2014 referendum to ask the Scottish people whether the Scottish Parliament should have the power to legislate for and negotiate on independence with the UK Government. The plan sets up a consultation on a draft bill extending these powers to the Scottish Parliament.

Key news sources

Post grids here

SNP backs Humza Yousaf’s Scottish independence plan

SNP delegates have backed Humza Yousaf’s plan to use the next general election result to push for a second independence referendum. An amended version of the strategy was voted through overwhelmingly at the party’s annual conference in Aberdeen.

learn more

Scotland: going solo?

Holyrood & Westminster: a consensual divorce? With talk of Scottish independence back on the table, Marc Weller examines the legality of the routes available

learn more

Our scholars’ expertise can have an impact that extends far beyond the academic realm