Blow to Nicola Sturgeon as Spain backs Theresa May's plans to block second independence vote
Madrid welcomed the move as Spanish officials attempt to crack down on separatism amid fears Scottish independence could become a blueprint for Catalonia’s pro-independence forces.
Enric Millo, the central government’s representative in the Catalan capital Barcelona, said: “Both governments understand that a referendum isn’t the best way of solving this kind of political dispute.
Both governments understand that a referendum isn’t the best way of solving this kind of political dispute
“We have been clear about that for a long time. And now the UK is clear about it too.”
The goodwill reinforces plans by Mrs May’s government to identify Spain as an ally during Brexit talks.
With 18 million British tourists boosting the Spanish economy each year and Spain investing some £105billion in the UK, both London and Madrid are keen for relations to remain cordial with potentially major implications for Scotland.
As an EU member, Spain would have a veto on an independent Scotland joining the bloc as it seeks to stamp out calls for Catalonian independence.
In a blow to Scottish nationalists, negative signals from Spain could hinder efforts to rally support ahead of a referendum.
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s government has insisted if Scotland were to become independent it would have to apply to join like other countries.
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Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has blocked repeated calls for Catalan independence
Enric Millo (left) welcomed Mrs May's plan to rule out the vote before Brexit
Mr Rajoy has blocked repeated calls for Catalan independence despite the regional government’s plans for a referendum by September.
Former Catalan president Artur Mas been banned from public office for two years for organising an illegal referendum in 2014.
Mr Millo said: “A referendum that produces a winner and a loser doesn’t resolve the conflict.
Nicola Sturgeon hopes the Scottish Parliament will pass a vote in favour of the referendum Sturgeon's top moments Fri, December 9, 2016
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in pictures.
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Nicola Sturgeon visits Glaxo Smith Kline.
“You make progress on the issue when there is dialogue and a willingness to reach an agreement.”
With Article 50 due to be triggered on Wednesday Mrs May will vow never to allow the UK to become "looser and weaker" in a speech ahead of a meeting in Scotland with Nicola Sturgeon.
Scottish Parliament is expected to pass a vote in favour of seeking a new Scottish independence referendum tomorrow.