THE UK Government has been told to reverse its “little Brexit Britain approach” after refusing to grant full diplomatic status to the EU ambassador in London.

Joao Vale de Almeida has been denied the privileges and immunities afforded to diplomats under the Vienna Convention.

It has led to accusations of pettiness and hypocrisy against the Tory administration, which is understood not to want to set a precedent by treating an international body in the same way as a nation state.

That’s despite 142 other countries around the world, in which the EU has delegations, granting ambassadors the same status as diplomats representing sovereign nations, leaving the UK as an outlier.

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The refusal from the Foreign Office means EU diplomats would not have the full protection of the Vienna Convention, giving them immunity from detention, criminal jurisdiction and taxation.

Josep Borrell, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, has raised “serious concerns” in a letter to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

One EU source told the BBC: "It seems petty. This is not about privileges, it's about principle. What does it say about the UK, about how much the British signature is worth?"

SNP Shadow Foreign Secretary Alyn Smith condemned the “silly Tory games”.

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He commented: "The Tory government must stop being so petty with its narrow little Brexit Britain approach and give the EU ambassador and his team full diplomatic status without further delay.

"Boris Johnson's extreme Brexit has been an extraordinarily damaging act of self-sabotage by Westminster, imposed on Scotland against our will. These silly Tory games must stop – they are only threatening the UK's own interests.”

The Stirling MP added: "Scotland is proud of our close friendship with our European neighbours. An independent Scotland would recognise the full diplomatic status of the EU ambassador and their delegation without question, as Scotland seeks to regain our EU membership and the full benefits it brings.

"Scotland has been completely ignored by Westminster throughout the Brexit process – and we are being forced to pay a devastating price. It is now beyond doubt that the only way to protect Scotland's interests and our place in Europe is to become an independent country."

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According to reports, EU officials are accusing the Foreign Office of hypocrisy. They point out that when the EU's foreign service – the External Action Service – was set up in 2010 as a result of the Lisbon Treaty, the UK signed up to proposals that EU diplomats must be awarded the "privileges and immunities equivalent to those referred to in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 18 April 1961".

The National: UK Foreign Secretary Dominic RaabUK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

A European Commission spokesman said: "The UK, as a signatory to the Lisbon Treaty, is well aware of the EU's status in external relations, and was cognisant and supportive of this status while it was a member of the EU.

"The EU has 143 delegations, equivalent to diplomatic missions, around the world. Without exception, all host states have accepted to grant these delegations and their staff a status equivalent to that of diplomatic missions of states under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and the UK is well aware of this fact."

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He added: "Nothing has changed since the UK's exit from the European Union to justify any change in stance on the UK's part.

"The EU's status in external relations and its subsequent diplomatic status is amply recognised by countries and international organisations around the world, and we expect the United Kingdom to treat the EU Delegation accordingly and without delay."

The dispute is expected to be raised by EU foreign ministers next week when they meet for the first time since the post-Brexit transition period ended on December 31.

A Foreign Office spokesperson commented: "Engagement continues with the EU on the long-term arrangements for the EU delegation to the UK. While discussions are still ongoing, it would not be appropriate for us to speculate on the detail of an eventual agreement."