SCOTLAND could get a special deal allowing it to stay more closely aligned with the EU post-Brexit, a leading MEP has told The National.

Terry Reintke, vice-chair of the Green Party in the European Parliament, also backed the Scottish Government having a seat at the negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called for Scotland to have a bespoke arrangement back in December 2016. At the start of the withdrawal negotiations, EU figures – including European Parliament Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt – said they were open to giving Scotland a special deal.

The proposal was rejected by the UK Government. Northern Ireland, however, was given a bespoke arrangement allowing it keep a closer relationship with the EU to prevent a hard border with the Republic.

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Asked by The National if it was still possible for Scotland to get a special deal, Reinke said: “The barrier to that was never the European Commission or the European Union, it was always the relation Scotland had with the UK Government. This is something that the Scottish and UK Government would have to see could be a possibility for the future.”

Pressed if it was possible from the EU’s side, she added: “It is something that would have to be looked at more closely. I remember when it was proposed back in the days when there was a lot of openness to explore this option from the European Commission side.”

She added: “But I think this is something that we would just have to explore further to see how exactly this could take place. The whole of the trade relationships between the UK and the EU are going to be on the table in the next month. We have the remaining 11 months to negotiate a trade deal during the transition period ... I hope the relationship between the EU and the UK will be as close as possible.”

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Asked if the Scottish Government should have a seat at the talks, she said: “From what I can see different parts of the United Kingdom were never fully included in trying to find a solution that works for all parts of the UK.

“Having a different parts of the United Kingdom included would have contributed to the outcome of the withdrawal agreement and would do so to the outcome of the trade negotiations. So I felt Scotland should have been more taken into consideration and involved in the negotiations then and also now in the future negotiations.”

Meanwhile, the UK Government dismissed fears about the possible break-up of the UK following Brexit.

Former Labour Cabinet minister Lord Murphy of Torfaen said the Union could be threatened unless the Government gets the EU withdrawal right. He told peers if it did not work, the movements for independence in Scotland and towards a united Ireland would grow stronger.

But Lords deputy leader Earl Howe said: “The Government is fully committed to proper engagement with the devolved administrations.”

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard added: “The devolution settlement is now in clear and present danger. It is very important that we should be delivering on the sort of fine words and undertakings that have been made by successive spokesmen from the frontbench but are not perceived in Cardiff or in Edinburgh to have been delivered on.”