The SNP has appealed to European politicians for support as it tries to progress plans for a second independence referendum in the wake of Brexit.
The party’s MSPs told a group of MEPs and parliamentarians from across Europe that their backing can ensure Scotland’s voice is not ignored.
The SNP group at Holyrood was responding to a letter signed by 50 European politicians from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Greece, Hungary and Malta stating Scotland would be ‘’most welcome’’ as a full member of the European Union if it chooses independence.
The letter also expressed regret that the UK Government had not “properly taken into account” the majority Remain vote in Scotland as part of its withdrawal from the EU.
The appeal for support comes as Nicola Sturgeon prepares to return to Holyrood to set out her next steps after the UK Government rejected her request to hold another referendum.
In a reply to the European politicians, SNP group convener Bruce Crawford said: “Last month the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of holding an independence referendum once the terms of Brexit are clear.
“”It would be fundamentally undemocratic and completely unsustainable for any UK Government to block the will of our national Parliament and stand in the way of Scotland having that choice.
“It is important to remember that it is the intransigence of the UK Government which has brought us to this juncture. The Scottish Government offered a serious compromise plan, which was completely disregarded by the UK Government.
“Scotland’s voice must not be ignored and, with support from friends across Europe who recognise the important values of democracy and international co-operation, we can ensure that it will not be ignored.
“We welcome your offer of support in ensuring a swift, smooth and orderly transition of an independent Scotland into the family of independent European nations if Scotland chooses that future in a democratic referendum.
“The depth of goodwill from across Europe is indeed heartening as we embark on that process and we look forward to continued close co-operation in the months and years ahead.”
In their letter to Holyrood’s Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh and the MSPs, the European politicians said: “The question of Scotland’s constitutional future, and your relationships with the UK and the EU, are for the people of Scotland to decide. It is not our place to tell Scotland what path you should take.
“We regret that the UK’s Government has chosen to follow the path of a ‘hard Brexit’ and has so far refused to properly take into account the preferences of Scottish citizens in the withdrawal process.
“Therefore, if Scotland were to become an independent country and decided to seek to maintain European Union membership, we offer our full support to ensure the transition is as swift, smooth and orderly as possible.”