FURTHER evidence has emerged that Spain spied on Nicola Sturgeon amid embassy officials’ concern over the relationship between Scotland and Catalonia.

An official from the Spanish embassy followed last year’s SNP conference in Glasgow and, as well as reporting on the First Minister’s address, highlighted a tribute to former Catalan education minister Professor Clara Ponsati – The National’s Person of the Year 2018 – and the attendance of Catalan Vice-President Pere Aragones at a fringe event.

A report was compiled on October 15 for the Spanish foreign ministry.

The diplomatic cable – published by El Nacional in Catalonia – was among documents submitted to a court when Spain tried to close Catalan delegations in London, Germany and Switzerland.

Catalonia’s High Court later dismissed the move.

READ MORE: REVEALED: Scottish MPs have been watched by Spanish spies

The cable examines Sturgeon’s standpoint on independence and says that while she is pro-independence, she includes “a dose of pragmatism”, in her views.

It says: “From the closing speech [at the SNP conference] two messages stand out: Scotland continues to need independence as a corollary for the devolution system, with the added justification of the treatment received by Westminster during the Brexit negotiations, in which the interests of the region (sic) have not been taken into account.

“However, contemporary to this (sic), Sturgeon called for calm and patience as well as pragmatism to integrate the sectors opposed to independence.”

The document also analyses Scotland’s anti-Brexit stance, stressing its importance as a main argument for an independent Scotland.

Ponsati had been fighting a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) before the document was written, which had been issued by judge Pablo Llarena and which was later withdrawn.

The National: Clara PonsatiClara Ponsati

The note reads: “With regard to the relationship between the SNP and the Catalan pro-independence leaders, as well as the Spring Conference, the Catalan politician Clara Ponsatí was present and even stood up on the speakers’ platform.

“On another occasion [in another conference in October], the guest was Catalan government VP, Pere Aragonès, who despite not intervening in the plenary, he did participate in one of the fringe events on the 8th October.

“During the event, he took part supporting a second Scottish referendum.

“He also made statements to the press, in particular to the nationalist daily The National [Scot].”

What the cable did not mention was that Aragones had discussions with the SNP leader, and said their administrations intended to consider how they could cooperate on economic, cultural and social policies.

The cable said he had indicated that the Catalan administration had contacts across the political spectrum in the UK.

As Aragones told The National in an exclusive interview: “The Catalan delegation in the UK, based in London, are working with all the parties and have contacts with the Conservative and Labour parties, also Plaid Cymru and our main contact is in Westminster with the APPG [All Party Parliamentary Group] on Catalonia – this is our main contact between the Catalan Government and the UK political parties.”