EUROPE has left a light on for Scotland, with members of the Greens/EFA group in the Parliament holding a candlelit vigil ahead of Brexit.

In a tweet, German MEP Erik Marquardt quoted a speech made by the SNP’s Alyn Smith in 2019, where the Scot had urged the EU to remember that Scotland was a European nation and that independence would offer the country a “route back”.

Speaking in the European Parliament, Smith said: “We celebrate international solidarity, we celebrate freedom of movement. If the European Union did not exist, we would need to invent something like it and Scotland would like to be part of it.”

He finished by saying: “Cher colleagues, I’m not asking you to solve our domestic discussions. I am asking you to leave a light on so we can find our way home.”

In his tweet, Marquardt said, “My great Scottish colleague @AlynSmith said in his speech on #Brexit: ‘I’m not asking you to solve our domestic discussions, I am asking you to leave a light on, so we can find our way home.’ “So we did.”

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Smith said it was a lovely thing. He told The National: “‘Leave a light on’ struck a chord. Scotland has our own issues to fix and our own decisions to make but I have no doubt whatsoever we have friends.”

It comes as Holyrood is set to debate and vote on Scotland’s right to hold a new referendum on independence.

Nicola Sturgeon met with her cabinet yesterday, ahead of what looks set to be one of the biggest weeks in her time as First Minister.

The SNP leader will open the debate in Holyrood today, and is due to formally share her “next steps” on a second independence referendum with the rest of the Scottish cabinet.

Sturgeon has said she wants to hold the vote in late 2020, but earlier this month Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused her request to devolve to Holyrood the power to make it legally watertight.

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Her spokesman told journalists that the First Minister had “a very clear plan in terms of what she intends to lay out”.

Meanwhile, former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars has accused the party’s leadership of misleading members by “pretending” there will be a second independence referendum this year.

In a letter to the Daily Mail, Sillars said there is division within the SNP between the majority of supporters who believe there will be a vote before 2020 is over, and the minority of those who do not.

Sillars claims that it is the responsibility of SNP members to “convert” those who are not behind Scottish independence, rather than “marching every weekend” - a reference to recent All Under One Banner (AUOB) marches across Scotland which have attracted tens of thousands.

Sillars wrote: “That 45% can march every weekend, while the Unionist majority goes shopping and remains unpersuaded.

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“We in the minority know it is those shoppers we need to discuss things with, in a civilised manner, and convert.

“A longer process than a few months; and one that cannot have any worth until we know the final details of the Brexit negotiations.”

The former deputy leader also questioned if there was enough “intellectual rigour” in the arguments for another referendum.

He said: “In my political apprentice years, I was taught by old school socialists that the application of intellectual rigour was an essential mental tool when considering policies.

“That quality is sadly missing, if it ever was there, in today’s SNP leadership.

“Just a few minutes’s study of the idea of an illegal referendum that scrapes past the courts (most unlikely) shows what a nonsense it is.

“The Unionist majority will take no part, so the SNP ends up with a majority of a minority. What happens then? I have yet to learn of plan B.”

An SNP spokeswoman said: “Scotland is due to be dragged out of Europe against its will in a matter of days – in those circumstances, we are determined to give the people of Scotland a choice on the country’s future in an independence referendum.

“There is a resounding democratic mandate for a referendum, and the longer that Boris Johnson tries to block it, the more that support for a referendum, and for independence, will continue to grow across Scotland.”