SCOTLAND will emerge as the winner whether or not the country backs independence in a second referendum, according to the speaker of the Catalan parliament.

And Carme Forcadell, who could face a ban from public office for allowing her parliament to vote on a referendum, again called on the Spanish government to enter into a dialogue with Catalonia, instead of using the legal system to avoid a discussion on independence.

Her comments came in a wide-ranging interview with Pau Llosa, Edinburgh-based correspondent for Catalan newspapers El Món and La Directa, in which she also said the people of Scotland should not be dragged out of Europe against their will.

I firmly believe in the right of self-determination of the nations all over the world,” said Forcadell. “Therefore, what I would like to see is this right respected and, regarding Scotland, Scottish people free to decide their future, because, whatever decision they make, they will have already won.

“I think that this [Brexit] is a situation that needs to be resolved by the Scottish people. They need to decide what is more convenient for their future and they need to decide it freely and democratically.”

Forcadell said David Cameron had understood that the Scottish people should decide their future, which contrasted sharply with the situation in the Catalan parliament, which has an independence-supporting majority.

“In Catalonia there is an immense majority of citizens, more than 80 per cent that want to decide their political future by means of a referendum.

“A social majority that also is reflected in a favourable parliamentary majority on giving a voice to citizens, and in a government that has the commitment to carry out this referendum,” she said.

“However, we find ourselves with the Spanish government that is unable to face, politically, political issues and uses the courts to try to restrict the freedom of expression and fight the will of the Catalan majority to decide freely its future.”

Three members of the previous Catalan government, including former president Artur Mas, have already been banned from office for allowing an independence poll in November 2014, but Forcadell said she wasn’t contemplating such a ban being imposed on her for “allowing the Parliament to speak”.

“The Spanish government has decided to go for the repressive way, and not only denies a dialogue about the current situation in Catalonia but permanently uses the courts with the aim of avoiding Parliament to debate on independence.

“Therefore, they pretend that it is the parliament that censors itself, that avoids debating certain subjects for fear of reprisals.

“But we will not allow this to happen. Debate and speech will continue being free in Parliament.”

The speaker said in light of Nicola Sturgeon being Scotland’s First Minister and Theresa May being in No 10, that she would like the next Catalan president to be female, but she said real equality would require a major cultural shift.

She has visited Edinburgh and Glasgow, and said Spain could learn from people’s respect for Scottish traditions: “I found the people very friendly, but what attracted my attention was their respect for traditions.

“In spite of defending modernity, they scrupulously preserve traditions and feel proud about them, I think we have to learn from them.”