FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday stopped short of saying she would commit to campaigning immediately for an independent Scotland to be allowed back into the European Union as a full member state, when pressed on her position by the Scottish Greens’ co-convenor.

Patrick Harvie’s question was posed amid ongoing discussion by some in the SNP that the party should drop their long-standing policy of becoming a full independent EU member state and instead seek “the Norway option” of European Economic Area membership.

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The Glasgow MSP said it was “just a year until the UK Government proposes to take us out of Europe in defiance not only of how people in Scotland voted but of the facts about the country’s best interests.

He asked: “Will the First Minister commit to continuing to oppose the Brexit process in principle? If that is done to us and we are dragged out of Europe, will she commit to immed-iately campaign to get us back in as a full member state?”

Sturgeon reaffirmed her opposition to Brexit but did not explicitly address Harvie’s question on whether she would commit to campaigning for re-entry into the European Union.

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“I do not think my views on membership of the European Union are any mystery,” she said. “I oppose Brexit in principle, I do not want us to leave the EU, and I want Scotland to continue to be a proud European nation.”

Harvie’s party earlier this month signed the Greenock Agreement which commits it to campaigning immediately for the whole of the UK and an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU as full members.

But the Scottish Government and the SNP have been highly critical of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which allows EU fishermen access to Scottish waters and is deeply unpopular with fishermen in the north-east of Scotland – a former SNP heartland.

The Greens back the CFP and believe its rules have helped conserve fish stocks by preventing over-fishing.

Harvie yesterday pressed the First Minister for her views on the CFP, noting the Scottish Government did not “always like the consequences” of EU membership.

“The Greens will certainly continue to be committed to this country’s European future,” he said. “We are a European country, and we will continue to be so even if it takes time to get back in.

“However, the Scottish Government does not always like the consequences. Fish are one of the environmental resources that can clearly be managed only on a shared basis among countries.

“Does the First Minister accept that without the common fisheries policy we would not have cod left in the sea or in the shops?”

Sturgeon replied: “Over the past number of years, Scottish fishermen have discharged their responsibilities to conservation ... I think it was back in 2004 that a Scottish National Party MP introduced a private member’s bill in the House of Commons to argue we should come out of the common fisheries policy.

“Even taking into account the points Patrick Harvie has made, the common fisheries policy is not fair to Scottish fishermen. That is why I do not support it.”