Nicola Sturgeon tells Europe to 'keep a light on' for Scotland post-Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon has said Europe should "keep a light on" as Scotland will be "back soon".

The First Minister tweeted just after the Brexit transition period formally ended at 11pm on December 31.

Scotland's trading and travel relationships with EU countries will now be governed by the agreement announced by the UK Government on Christmas Eve.

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Heavy good vehicles wait to be loaded ahead of their departure to Belfast. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Ms Sturgeon reiterated the SNP's call for an independent Scotland to join the EU.

Tweeting a picture of the words Europe and Scotland attached by a love heart, she said: "Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on."

The image had previously been projected on to the side of the EU Commission building in Brussels.

Scotland's Constitution Secretary Mike Russell also said the separate Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland and Gibraltar showed independence was the "only alternative", as the transition period ended.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visits Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. Picture: Russell Cheyne - Pool/Getty Images

He was reacting to news that a draft agreement had been reached between the UK and Spain to keep the border with the Rock open on January 1 and beyond.

While Scotland has the same trade arrangements with the EU as England and Wales, there is a separate Northern Ireland Protocol to avoid a hard border with the Republic.

An emergency lorry park has been set up near Cairnryan in Dumfries and Galloway able to hold 240 vehicles to deal with any haulage delays.

But feared delays did not materialise on Friday morning.

A sign at the Cairnryan Ferry Terminal. Picture: PA

Business at the port was quiet on the first day after the Brexit transition period ended, with no queues or disruption.

Around 14 freight lorries were joined by a handful of cars on the first ferry to leave Scotland for Northern Ireland under the new rules – the 11:30am Stena Line service heading from Loch Ryan Port to Belfast.

One lorry driver said he experienced no issues getting through security and "everything was fine".

Additionally, on December 31 it was announced that Gibraltar would be covered by a separate treaty.

In December 2016, the Scottish Government proposed keeping Scotland in the single market post-Brexit.

Mr Russell tweeted on Thursday evening: "The NI & Gibraltar deals make clear that the 12/16 @ScotGov proposals could have produced a Scottish deal but were never pursued in EU negotiations by UK.

"Consequently the UK has itself created the circumstances in which independence is the only alternative for Scotland."

The Scottish Parliament earlier refused to give legislative consent for the Prime Minister's Brexit agreement.

MSPs voted by 92 to 30 to say the deal would "cause severe damage to Scotland's environmental, economic and social interests", following a debate on Wednesday.

A Scottish Government report released earlier modelled that GDP would be 6.1 per cent lower by 2030 compared to remaining a member of the EU.

However, the Conservatives accused the SNP of hypocrisy for refusing to back the Prime Minister's deal when it had opposed a no-deal Brexit.

On Thursday, they said the Scottish Government had been spreading "propaganda" about the agreement on its official channels.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said he had written to civil service chiefs seeking an apology for the "bad deal for Scotland" video shared on social media.

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