THERESA May wants to drag Scotland out Europe, while spending billions to keep the City of London and its financial sector in the single market, according to reports.

SNP politicians are furious at the unwillingness to grant both Scotland and the City the same access.

A report in yesterday’s Financial Times suggested the UK Government has not ruled out making future payments worth several billion pounds to the EU to secure privileged access to the single market for City firms to continue trading across the continent.

“We would have to be careful how we explained it,” one of the ministers told the paper.

“But Theresa has been very careful not to rule it out,” another senior Conservative minister added.

The SNP argue that if London can remain in the single market, then so too can Scotland.

Convener of Holyrood’s Europe Committee, Joan McAlpine, said: “The revelation that the UK Government is exploring options to keep the City of London in the single market – spending billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money in the process – means it is simply not tenable for Theresa May and her ministers to claim it is impossible to look at similar arrangements for Scotland.

“The Tories have been continually dismissive of the Scottish Government’s efforts to keep Scotland in the EU, and this latest development exposes the double standards at play and the Conservatives’ contempt for Scottish voters.

“Quite simply, if the UK Government is able and willing to pursue a special deal for London, then they should also be able to consider a special deal to keep Scotland in the single market – given the overwhelming vote by people across Scotland to remain in Europe.”

Legal challengers seeking to force the government into giving MPs a vote on Brexit, are undermining democracy and invalidate the referendum result, the Attorney General has told the High Court.

Meanwhile, it was the second day of the first legal challenge against Brexit, in a case which could have far-reaching consequences. A lawyer for the Scottish Government is watching procedures.

The complainers say it should be up to MPs to trigger Article 50, the process necessary for the UK to leave the EU, and not, as Theresa May has insisted, up to her and the Cabinet.

The case rests on the wording of Article 50 itself, which states that a member state may leave “in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”.

Jeremy Wright QC argued that the making and unmaking of international treaties was done through use of government executive powers, the royal prerogative, and that this was the correct “constitutional requirement”.

The attorney general told the court: “This is not a narrow legal challenge… It seeks to invalidate the decision already taken to withdraw from the EU.

“Making and unmaking treaties are an established use of royal prerogative powers. The use of prerogative powers [to trigger Brexit] was wholly within the expectation of parliament.

“The question is, has parliament acted to limit the availability of the royal prerogative powers? The answer, we say, is no.”

Wright added: “The other parties in this case have sought to say they are defending the sovereignty of parliament. We say that parliament can retain its sovereignty as much by choosing not to do something as by doing something.

“It chose not to restrict the way royal prerogative powers work on multiple opportunities.

“The prerogative powers are available to use, we say, to give clear effect to the wishes of the people of the UK that we should begin the process of leaving the EU.”

The case continues.