THE Foreign Office should not have blocked diplomatic assistance to Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford when they visited Brussels this week, a former UK trade negotiator has said.

David Henig hit out after the Welsh First Minister was refused the use of a UK Government car during his visit to the Belgium capital yesterday.

The Foreign Office snub to Wales came a day after Scotland’s First Minister was refused diplomatic support during her visit to the Belgium capital to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. She also gave a speech to the European Policy Centre.

Henig highlighted the Foreign Office spat with Drakeford on Twitter yesterday.

“More important than it seems - for a successful negotiation Government needs to work broadly - with business, devolved administrations etc. A sign of how badly things have gone, and something else that won’t be discussed in the Conservative leadership race,” he wrote.

Henig, now UK director of the European Centre For International Political Economy, told The National it was not right for the UK Government to be obstructive to the Scottish and Welsh Governments’ in their overseas visits.

“It’s all got very frayed...There is this idea Europe shouldn’t be talking to the First Minister, well of course Europe should talk to the First Minister and anybody they want to,” he said.

“It is something the next Prime Minister really should be looking to to sort out. However much [different parts of the UK] disagree there should be ways they can try and work together internationally.

“I think the fact these sort of things are coming to the public’s attention shows something has gone wrong.”

Drakeford, who has said he will back a Remain vote in a second EU referendum, was initially told diplomatic support for his visit was conditional on him not undermining UK government policy. He used public transport during his visit.

According to a BBC report, the Foreign Office said it had to be certain its resources overseas were focused on UK government’s objectives.

The spat followed a Foreign Office snub to the Scottish Government when Jeremy Hunt’s department refused to provide the First Minister with diplomatic assistance as they believed she was also attempting to undermine UK policy and was going to Brussels to stop Brexit and promote independence.

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething yesterday called the withdrawal of the support to Drakeford “utterly pathetic”.

Drakeford met Barnier and the European Parliament’s Secretary General Klaus Welle as part of his first visit to Brussels as First Minister.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Drakeford said he would use the meetings “to press the point that there are parts of the UK who remain willing to work constructively with EU leaders in recognition of the mutual economic and social benefits this brings.”