SCOTTISH Liberal Democrat candidate John Ferry has said that the SNP’s plans for Scottish independence will leave them locked out of the EU, adding 'The SNP are not a party of remain; they are a party, at best, of re-apply'.

Mr Ferry, who lives in Peebles, is standing in the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency in December’s general election. 

Originally from a council estate in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, Mr Ferry went on to study economics at the University of St Andrews, before finding work in the oil and gas industry. 

From there, he worked as a financial journalist, before founding his own PR and communications company, Greyfriars Communications.

Speaking in Peebles last week Mr Ferry was asked if his background in economics influenced his politics. 

He said: “That’s not what led me to join the party, but certainly the interest I take in the economic arguments happily ties in with my party’s position on both separating the UK from Europe, and separating Scotland from the UK. 

“None of these positions make sense economically, and the problem with radical nationalists putting forward these separation agendas, is that they’ve started with a really radical outcome, which is to break away, and then they work backwards from there and try to make the argument fit. 

“When you take a step back and remove emotion from it, and analyse these situations impartially and objectively, there is no case for these separation agendas, certainly not economically.

“We know that Brexit is already causing an immense amount of economic damage, the Frazer of Allender Institute estimates that Brexit has already cost the Scottish economy £3bn, and we know that if we stop Brexit that we can realise a remain bonus of about £50bn at the UK level, over the next five years. 

“Now that’s an estimate that the head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said is reasonable, and it comes from increased economic activity creating more taxes, adding £50bn to the Treasury over the next five years that wouldn’t be there if we complete Brexit.”

Mr Ferry, who opposes both Brexit and Scottish independence, was asked which the constituents of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale would prefer: an independent Scotland in the EU or Scotland to remain in a post-Brexit UK.

He said: “It’s important we frame these arguments in reality and realism. It’s not possible for an independent Scotland to be in the EU, certainly not to remain in the EU as some like to make out.

“The SNP are not a party of remain, they are a party, at best, of re-apply. Their agenda in 2014 and today is still to remove Scotland from the UK, and by doing so, automatically becoming a third country with respect to the European Union and its laws. That’s the way the treaties work at the moment.

“An independent Scotland in the EU is not a possibility anytime soon. At best, it would be: separate from the UK, go through all of the economic damage that would involve, and then try to lay the foundations for, at some point in the future, applying to become an independent member of the EU. 

“To do that, we’d need to meet a number of economic criteria which we are a million miles away from meeting.”

Asked whether he believes there are similarities between the campaign for Scottish independence and the campaign for the UK to leave the EU, Mr Ferry commented: “Yes, there’s underlying elements which link them, like in an economic sense. 

“One is about withdrawing from a 40-year economic and political union, the other one is about withdrawing from a 300-odd-year-old economic, political, social and, very importantly, a monetary and fiscal union. 

“The Scottish separation is a far more complex and dangerous one than the EU separation one. 

“I know the Scottish Nationalists don’t like me to turn around and say there are similarities between these things, but there are certainly similarities in the economic arguments and the whole ‘take back control’ arguments. 

“I obviously appreciate that while Nigel Farage et al’s campaign is about whipping up fear against immigration and Brussels, the Scottish Nationalist argument is more politically correct but it still whips up fear against something hostile and foreign, which is Westminster Tories. 

“There are similarities but there are certainly big differences also.”