SCOTLAND will not be spending its last Christmas as part of the European Union this year, an SNP MP has vowed.

Alyn Smith, who was an MEP until elected as an MP this month, pledged the SNP would do all they can at Westminster to ensure the country can “escape the mess of Brexit”.

His comments come as a German MEP renewed a pledge the EU would leave the “door open” for an independent Scotland to rejoin.

A majority of 124 votes for the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill at its second reading in the Commons last week means the UK is on its way to finalising its divorce from Brussels by the January 31 deadline.

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But Smith, who was elected to represent Stirling, said: “This cannot be Scotland’s last Christmas in the European Union, and SNP MPs will do all we can to ensure that Scotland can escape the mess of Brexit.

“The people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to Remain in the EU in 2016, and people in Scotland cannot be dragged out of Europe against the wishes of our people.

The National: Alyn Smith

“Scotland is a European nation and our EU membership must be protected from a destructive Tory Brexit.

“The risk of losing 100,000 jobs in Scotland, and a Brexit money-grab of £2300 from every person per year with a hard Brexit, is simply not worth taking.”

He added: “Scotland cannot afford to stay a member of the UK in an increasingly insular Brexit Britain.

“Only by taking our seat at the table with other independent European nations can Scotland escape the chaos of Brexit.”

German Green MEP Terry Reintke tweeted a message highlighting a letter to the Scottish Parliament signed by 50 politicians from across the EU in the wake of the Brexit vote.

She said: “Maybe now is the moment to remind everyone in Scotland of our commitment: Your future is for you to decide, but we will leave our door open.”

The letter to MSPs acknowledges that Scotland “voted strongly” to remain within the EU. It added: “If Scotland were to become an independent country and decided to maintain European Union membership, we offer our full support to ensure the transition is as swift, smooth and orderly as possible.

“Scotland would be most welcome as a full member of the European Union, with your five million European citizens continuing to benefit from the rights and protections we all currently enjoy.”

The National: Prime Minister Boris Johnson ahead of the vote

Yesterday Boris Johnson was asked whether he was planning for a hard Brexit at the end of 2020, as he visited British troops in Estonia and met with the country’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas.

He said: “On the EU and our partnership, just talking to Juri Ratas, who is the prime minister here, such a positive feeling now.

“What everybody wants to do is put Brexit behind us on January 31 and move on, and there’s a lot of goodwill and a lot of energy now about building the new deep and special partnership, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

THE Prime Minister told MPs on Friday that the “oven was on” when it came to delivering Brexit next year, but said there would be “no alignment” to EU rules once the transition period ends in 2020.

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Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned a “good trade deal” for Ireland was looking increasingly unlikely after the stance taken by Number 10 since the Tories’ win.

“It is going to be difficult to secure a good trade deal for Ireland, principally because Boris Johnson has fixed on a harder Brexit than we anticipated under his predecessor or at the time of the referendum, and that is one where he talks very much about divergence,” he said.

“The harder approach being taken by Prime Minister Johnson is a risk to us and that is evident.”

Varadkar said he feared the UK, under a hard Brexit, would look to “undercut” EU states on food, financial, product and health standards in order to compete for world trade.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised over Brexit trade negotiations following the sale of a UK defence and aerospace company to US private equity firm Advent. The UK Government approved the sale of Cobham, which has extensive contracts with the British military, on Friday after the deal was delayed due to national security concerns. Sir Ed Davey, acting leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the move was “deeply concerning”.

He said: “If Boris Johnson’s Government are happy to sell of a leading UK defence and aerospace company to Trump’s America, how can we expect his Government to protect our defence and manufacturing sectors, not to mention every other sector of our economy, as they negotiate trade deals after Brexit?”

However Johnson said it was important to have an “open and dynamic market economy”.