Standing Ovation For MEP Alyn Smith

A Scottish nationalist MEP has received a standing ovation at the European Parliament following his demand for Scotland to remain within the EU family of nations.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith was speaking in an emergency debate at the European Parliament in the wake of the UK vote to leave the European Union on June 23.

He reminded MEPs that Scotland voted to Remain, demanded that status "be respected'' and begged parliamentarians from around Europe: "Do not let Scotland down.''

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is understood to be heading to Brussels on Wednesday for talks with senior figures about protecting Scotland's place in the EU.

She has pledged to explore all options - up to and including another Scottish independence referendum.

Addressing the meeting of the Parliament, Mr Smith said: "I want my country to be internationalist, co-operative, ecological, fair, European - and the people of Scotland, along with the people of Northern Ireland and the people of London and lots and lots of people in Wales and England, also voted to Remain within our family of nations.

"I demand that that status and that esprit europeen be respected.

"Colleagues, there are a lot of things to be negotiated and we will need cool heads and warm hearts, but please remember this: Scotland did not let you down. Please, I beg you, cher colleagues, do not let Scotland down now.''

MEP Martina Anderson, who represents Northern Ireland which also voted to Remain, said her constituents are not bound by the UK vote to Leave and backed Scotland's right to stay in the EU.

Northern Ireland could face a land border with the Republic of Ireland, an EU state, if it is pulled out of the union.

Scotland could face similar border issues with England if it remains an EU territory that is either independent or semi-autonimous from the UK.

Ms Anderson said: "The EU has supported our peace process. I ask you to continue to do that.

"MEPs like Diane Dodds and Marine Le Pen would say that we in the north of Ireland are bound by a UK vote. We say we are not.

"Like the previous MEP (Alyn) Smith, we ask you to respect our vote. We stand by the vote of the people from the north of Ireland, just like Scotland, which voted Remain.

"We accept, we respect and we will defend the wishes of the people of the north of Ireland.''

Ukip leader Nigel Farage goaded MEPs who mocked his campaign to take the UK out of the EU.

He said: "When I came here 17 years ago and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me - well, I have to say, you're not laughing now, are you?''

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