MOVES to develop the Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland have been welcomed by the SNP as a sign of possible future co-operation with an independent Scotland.

The UK and Irish governments are planning to deepen existing travel arrangements between the two countries by issuing common visas to overseas visitors in a bid to ease business links with the Far East.

The Nationalists said the move undermined warnings that border controls may have to be established between the UK and an independent Scotland.

SNP MSP Clare Adamson, a member of the Holyrood's European committee, said: "The No campaigners have consistently argued that there would be border controls between Scotland and England if we vote Yes, when the reality is that the UK Government are working with Ireland to broaden and deepen the Common Travel Area. If anyone from the No campaign ever again tries the argue the 'customs posts at the border' bogey, they will simply be laughed at."

The UK and Ireland are in their own common travel area rather than the Schengen zone which allows free movement between most other EU countries.

Under SNP plans, an independent Scotland would seek its own opt-out from the Schengen agreement.

Pro-UK campaigners have warned such a deal could not be guaranteed, leading to fears of border controls between Scotland and the rest of Britain.