Embedding rights into the Constitution

First Minister: Equality and rights at the heart of an independent Scotland’s Constitution.

An independent Scotland would have a constitution based on the sovereignty of the people and reflect Scotland’s values as a modern, democratic European nation from day one, according to plans outlined by the First Minister Humza Yousaf.  

The fourth paper in the ‘Building a New Scotland’ series, sets out how a written constitution developed by the people in Scotland could put rights and equality at its heart, including by protecting the right to strike and giving constitutional recognition to the NHS. 

Speaking at the launch of the new prospectus paper, First Minister Humza Yousaf said: 

“This fourth publication in the ‘Building a New Scotland’ series sets out the Scottish Government’s proposals for how people in Scotland can create a written constitution that puts democracy, rights and equality at the heart of everything we do as an independent country.  

“To be a success, our written constitution must be one that the people in Scotland believe in, giving them the direct opportunity to shape and build a better country. It must also have the collective authority of the nation, so that those in power accept that, under the constitution, they are accountable to the people.  

“Independence would give Scotland the ability to create a constitution that provides recognition of the NHS in Scotland, giving people the right to access a system of health care, available free at the point of need. It would allow Scotland to continue its progressive approach to human rights and equality, without the current restrictions of the devolution settlement and without the threat of the UK Government overruling our decisions or unwinding our advances. This would ensure that our human rights and equality protections could cover all policy areas, including those currently reserved. 

“With independence, we can build a better country on that fundamental right of every person in Scotland to be treated equally, and with a written constitution, Scotland can build a new home for democracy, rights and equality.” 



First Minister’s speech – 19 June 2023 

Paper: Creating a modern constitution for an independent Scotland 

Building a New Scotland series 

This is the latest in a series of papers that will form a prospectus to enable people to make an informed choice about Scotland’s future. 

In the prospectus paper, the Scottish Government proposes:  

  • an interim constitution, which would take effect on the day of independence – providing stability and clarity 
  • a permanent constitution created by the people through a legally-mandated Constitutional Convention  
  • a referendum to enable people in Scotland to decide the permanent constitution 


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