The National:

THERE are numerous reasons why Scotland should become an independent country – from escaping the Tory Westminster Government's austerity and immigration policies to being in charge of our own affairs.

But Nicola Sturgeon has managed to sum the independence argument up in a single tweet.

The First Minister spoke of the special EU summit held tonight that will determine whether the UK is given a Brexit extension.

She tweeted: "Tonight, 12 of the 27 EU member states that will decide the UK’s future have populations smaller than or similar in size to Scotland’s. If we become independent we get to sit at that table – enjoying the same solidarity shown to Ireland – instead of being sidelined by Westminster"

Theresa May is asking to delay Brexit until 30 June, with the option of pulling out earlier if a deal and the necessary legislation is approved by MPs.

The terms of any Brexit extension must first be agreed by all 28 EU countries.

With Unionists often saying Scotland is too small to be in charge of its own affairs, tonight's vote reveals just how much power countries the same size as or smaller than Scotland have in the EU.

If they choose to, tiny Luxembourg, Cyprus or Malta alone could plunge the UK into Brexit chaos today.

Scotland has a population of around five million, Luxembourg has 590,667, Cyprus has 854,802 and Malta 460,297.

Ironically, Brexit has ended up powerfully demonstrating the benefits for small independent countries in Europe.