A DEAL for Scotland to access the EU single market is “not in the least bit likely” despite the new post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland, experts have said.

The trade agreement labelled the Windsor framework, which has been announced to replace Boris Johnson's controversial Brexit agreement, means Northern Ireland has access to both the UK and European Union markets.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it was now the “world’s most exciting economic zone” as he announced the new deal.

Before the UK left the EU, the Scottish Government had repeatedly called without success for Scotland to remain in the EU single market and customs union in the event of Brexit taking place.

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Speaking at an online event Professor Anand Menon, director of UK in a Changing Europe (UKICE), warned a similar arrangement for Scotland was still “not in the least bit likely”.

“There were very special circumstances around Northern Ireland - the history of the place, the fact that the vital national interest of a member state – ie the Republic [of Ireland] – was engaged in this and the Good Friday Agreement and the EU’s role in that.

“None of that applies to Scotland.”

He said he did not think the EU would allow the UK or even an aspiring new member state to have a similar “cherry picked” arrangement of staying in the single market for goods.

He added: “I think we fail in this debate in this country to recognise that the EU has been willing to bend a huge number of its norms to incorporate the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland. It is not about to do so again, absent those unique circumstances.”

During the UKICE event called “How feasible is rejoin?”, Menon also said in the next election, there “won’t be much to choose” from between the Conservatives and Labour when it comes to Brexit.

“There is basically no difference between the formal positions of Labour and the Conservatives when it comes to Brexit,” he said.

“Key to getting Brexit done for Keir Starmer was fixing the Northern Ireland Protocol, but now assuming this deal sticks, that will have been done and actually Rishi Sunak will reap the immediate benefits of that decision.”

He added: “So in that sense, when we get to the next election, there won’t be much to choose between the two parties on their positions when it comes to Brexit.

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“Whether that changes? I can see it is perfectly sensible for Keir Starmer to be where he is now, when you are 20-odd points in the polls, you don’t fundamentally revise your strategy.”

But speaking at the same event, polling expert Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University, said Labour votes could be under threat if the Liberal Democrats were to take a stance of calling to rejoin the EU.

He pointed out that in Scotland where the SNP has a position of getting back into Europe, Labour is no more successful among Remain voters than it is among Leave voters.

“Its stance is undoubtedly an impediment to its ability to try and make significant advance in Scotland, which is also important to Labour’s ability to win an overall majority at Westminster,” he said.

“If the Liberal Democrats were to change their position and start to appeal to rejoin voters, then the Labour party would find itself back in a position of 2019, which was it had to worry about the split of the pro-EU vote between it and the Liberal Democrats.

“At the moment it is the Leave vote which is split - but if the Liberal Democrats were to change their position then I think political dynamics and the agreeable circumstances in which Labour finds itself would change perhaps rather more rapidly than people realise.”

SNP Europe and EU Accession spokesperson Alyn Smith MP said Sunak had "perfectly outlined" how Scotland will be at a competitive disadvantage outside the European Union.

He said: “Northern Ireland voted to stay within the European Union and it is getting its wishes, however Scotland voted overwhelmingly to reject Brexit but we are living with the economic consequences every single day.

“Throughout the Brexit process the SNP Scottish Government made sensible suggestions so Scotland’s choice could be respected by remaining inside the single market and customs union. Those proposals were thrown in the bin and Scotland was taken along for the ride as we were dragged out of Europe against our will.

“Scotland’s economy continues to suffer the economic consequences of Brexit and they will only continue under a pro-Brexit Labour government who will keep Scotland out of the EU, no matter the economic consequences.

“That is why the only way for Scotland to re-join the European Union is by becoming an independent country.”