German Green MEP Terry Reinke has said that an independent Scotland would be "welcomed back with open arms into the European Union".

She added that an independent Scotland could count on her support as well as that of many other MEPs who would back Scotland's application for membership.

She also predicted that Scotland's accession process into the EU would be far shorter than that of many other countries.

Reinke said: “The question on the independence of Scotland is for the people in Scotland to decide and I will not take a position on it.

“However, if Scotland were to became an independent country, they would be welcomed back with open arms into the European Union."

She added: "Of course, they would have to pass the same process as other candidate states, but since Scotland previously applied the full acquis I would expect this process to go much faster. The people of Scotland could count on myself and many other MEPs' support in this process."

Reinke's comments are in a similar vein to those of her colleague and fellow German Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer, who told delegates at the SNP conference in Aberdeen last year that members of the European Parliament will do "whatever it takes to keep the door open" to welcome Scotland back into the European Union.

On an anecdotal level there is evidence of increasing awareness of Scotland as a distinct and far more pro-EU nation amongst the European public.

Spanish and Belgian friends tell me that when discussing Scotland with their associates and families there is widespread sympathy for Scotland's plight in having been dragged out of the EU against its will, and a willingness to see Scotland return to EU membership as soon as possible.

This sympathy however does not extend to England and there is relief that the UK is no longer a disruptive influence in Europe, constantly demanding special treatment and blocking efforts at European integration.

There is a perception that Scotland would become an enthusiastic team player in Europe, aiding and strengthening European cohesion.

While the Scottish Tories, aided and abetted by much of the Scottish media, incessantly bang on about Michael Matheson's £11,000 roaming phone charges, a sum which he is paying back, they are far less keen to draw attention to the estimated £100 billion in taxpayers' money which the Conservatives have wasted in just the last four years.

Most of this money spent on axed or "dubious" projects like a new helicopter was the responsibility of Rishi Sunak either in his previous role as chancellor or his current job of Prime Minister.

The pro-EU campaigning group Best for Britain has calculated that the UK Government has wastefully spent or dubiously allocated an estimated £99,418,907,782 of taxpayers' money since 2019.

This total includes £140 million sunk on the Rwanda deal, which was this week ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court.

It also includes £2.3bn spent on cancelled parts of HS2, £50m spent on a new helicopter for top Tories, £73,000 on wine, £11,000,000 on blue post-Brexit passports, £120,000,000 on the Festival of Brexit, and £5,000,000 on a second review of whether MPs can remain in Parliament during refurbishment.

It came to the same conclusion that MPs will need to leave during the work. This second review was carried out at the insistence of Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The money wasted is more than nine million times the roaming charges which so occupy the Scottish Tories and their media allies, but you can bet it won't receive anything like nine million times the attention. Indeed, it has scarcely been mentioned at all.

Naomi Smith, CEO of Best for Britain, said: "The notion that the Tories are safe with money has been blown out of the water. It's disgraceful that the government continues to squander huge amounts of public money whilst so many struggle to feed their families and heat their homes.

"We can't wait any longer for change. This fiscally inept, and morally bankrupt government must go and that’s why at the next election, Best for Britain will organise the most powerful tactical voting operation the nation has ever seen."

The Scottish Government has tabled a parliamentary motion on Gaza to be debated in Holyrood on Tuesday.

The motion will be the first time the Scottish Parliament has the opportunity to vote for a ceasefire, and follows votes in the Welsh Assembly and the UK Parliament last week, with Scottish Labour and Tory MPs failing to support the latter.

Alba MSP Ash Regan, Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer and SNP MSP Kaukab Stewart put forward motions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza earlier in the month.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has called on Labour's Anas Sarwar to "stand firm" and resist pressure from his boss in London to water down the Scottish Government's motion.

The call comes after the Scotland on Sunday newspaper reported that the Labour's Holyrood leader is set to propose an amendment that would water down the substance of the call for an immediate ceasefire, in line with Keir Starmer's reluctance to call for a ceasefire or to condemn the collective punishment currently being meted out on the people of Gaza by the Israeli government and armed forces.

Rishi Sunak might have sacked Suella Braverman but he is very much determined to prove that the Conservatives are still the nasty party.

In order to fund tax cuts for the better off, the Tories have unveiled plans to be even more cruel to benefits claimants who are already often struggling to survive on social security payments which are insufficient to cover life's basic necessities.

The Tories now propose to stop the current entitlement of means-tested benefits claimants in England to free prescriptions and dental treatment if they are deemed not to be demonstrating sufficient vigour in their search for work.

This is nothing less than the weaponisation of healthcare.

It's a truly shocking proposal which was condemned by former Tory minister Michael Heseltine who accused the Conservative government of fuelling “hate politics”.  

Sadly but unsurprisingly, the Labour party of Keir Starmer has refused to confirm that it will repeal this vile plan should it form the next government.