Spanish Government deny SNP minister’s Brexit talks claims

© DC Thomson
Mike Russell.

The Spanish Government has denied it has opened any Scottish Brexit talks after the SNP’s Brexit Minister appeared to suggest conversations have taken place.

Mike Russell made a number of contested claims to an audience in Brussels, including that “five million citizens…quite clearly said they do not want to give up their European citizenship” and that the only MSPs to back a leave vote were four Conservative members.

The number of Scots who voted remain was 1.6 million, while former health secretary Alex Neil has publicly stated he supported Brexit and claimed as many as six fellow SNP MSPs did likewise.

Asked whether he had had contact with Spain, Mr Russell said: “I am not going to reveal everybody’s conversations, but I think you can take it that as intelligent people we would not be talking in these terms unless we were having conversations.”

A Spanish Government spokesman told The Courier that Spain is not discussing any bespoke Scottish deal.

Conservative MEP Ian Duncan said: “Mr Russell has gone to Brussels and tried to paint a completely false picture.”

A spokesman for Mr Russell said: “This is a ludicrous attack from the Tories – for them to ask anyone else to clarify their plans for Brexit is like a burglar demanding a homeowner clean up the house he has just ransacked.”