A MOTION calling for a frictionless border between an independent Scotland and England which appeared on the draft agenda for the SNP’s annual conference will not be debated at the event, The National can reveal.

The resolution, which was backed by MSPs Emma Harper and Christine Grahame, is not listed for discussion or a vote at the online conference which is to take place from November 26 to 29.

Dr Kirsty Hughes (below), the founder of the former think tank the Scottish Centre on European Relations, said she wasn’t surprised the motion was dropped as an open border between an independent Scotland in the EU and an England outside the EU was not a realistic option.

The National:

However, she added that she thought the implications of a harder border with the rest of the UK and an open border with the EU should be a matter that was being discussed by the party regarding what it meant for the independence case.

“It’s not surprising that the motion has been dropped since there is no point debating something that is not feasible, ie a fully open border with England if Scotland is independent in the EU,” she said.

READ MORE: Demand for 'frictionless border' with rest of UK after independence

“The SNP certainly should be discussing the implications of a harder border to the rest of the UK and an open border to the EU – the costs and benefits and how the direct border impacts will interact with the wider economic change, positive and negative, that independence will bring.”

She added: “You only have to look at the difficulties in softening the Britain-Northern Ireland border, despite Northern Ireland only being in the EU’s single market for goods and having almost no barriers for trade from Northern Ireland to Great Britain to see the problems.

“An independent Scotland in the EU will have a full EU external border, just as Ireland, France or Denmark does. There is no getting away from that and the SNP needs to debate policy options on the basis of reality not wishful thinking.”

Anthony Salamone, managing director of European Merchants, said the “obvious realities” relating to the border needed to be addressed. If Scotland chose EU membership, it would eventually be on the EU’s side of the Brexit deal. Trade between Scotland and the UK would fall under the EU-UK relationship and its requirements.

“The border is an often emotive topic, but it does not need to be. If Scotland became independent, borders would be necessary to define where Scotland (and the EU) began and ended,” he said. “The issues related to the Scotland-England border and independence are manageable.

​READ MORE: Here’s how an indy Scotland in the EU could avoid a hard border with the UK

“At this stage, however, those issues will only be manageable if the obvious realities are acknowledged and substantive proposals are made to address them.”

Harper said she had Grahame had decided to postpone the resolution for debate until the SNP’s spring conference next year as she wanted to amend the text.

“Through discussion as we were preparing the language in the resolution, my colleague Christine Grahame MSP and I have decided to postpone the resolution on trade in an independent Scotland until the spring conference as we want to make further amendments to the text,” she said.

“This will allow more time to engage with SNP members across South Scotland - who have shown a great interest - to ensure a robust debate can be held on border arrangements in an independent Scotland when the resolution is next presented.”