The SNP has called on the BBC to answer questions over its coverage of Scotland's EU membership after a presenter appeared to give a personal view on the matter.

The party said that Andrew Marr's comments in an interview with First Minister Alex Salmond on his show today appeared to be outside the BBC's editorial guidelines.

It also said that the programme seemed to have ignored "overwhelming evidence" that Scotland would remain in the EU if it were to become independent.

The situation developed after Mr Salmond was asked about claims by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso that Scotland may find it ''extremely difficult, if not impossible'' to join the EU.

Mr Marr said: "I think it would be quite hard to get back in, I have to say."

Mr Salmond asked whether he was giving "the Andrew Marr analysis" and went on "I don't know, is that an individual expression? Is that the expression of the BBC?"

The presenter responded: "I've got no views on this. Nor does the BBC. I was simply reflecting on what Mr Barroso told us."

The First Minister then said: "Well you just said what your opinion was" to which Mr Marr replied: "I said I think it will be quite difficult having talked to Mr Barroso."

When he discussed the issue of Scotland's EU membership on The Andrew Marr Show last month Mr Barroso noted that Spain has been opposing the recognition of Kosovo.

The SNP said that the Scottish Parliament has heard a number of "incredibly eminent witnesses" explain how and why Scotland would continue as a member of the EU on independence.

Stewart Maxwell MSP, Convener of the Scottish Parliament's Culture Committee, said: "That appears to have been ignored by the Andrew Marr programme in favour of an opinion from the president of the Commission that has been roundly rejected by EU experts. Any assessment of the balance of evidence would show an independent Scotland continuing in the EU.

"Mr Barroso's comparison with Kosovo has been rejected by a vice president of the Commission, and his view about Scotland in Europe criticised by a former European Court judge, by a former director general of the European Commission, and by international political and academic figures.

"There are questions for the BBC to answer over their coverage of this issue. Firstly, they failed to press President Barroso about his comparison of Scotland - which has been part of the EU for over 40 years - with Kosovo. And now a presenter offers what appears to be a personal view on an independent Scotland's EU membership.

"The comments from Andrew Marr appear to be outside the BBC's editorial guidelines, and no amount of backtracking can change that."

A spokesman for the First Minister said: "The First Minister thoroughly enjoyed his appearance on the Andrew Marr Show as he always does.

"Though the specific comment made was surprising, the First Minister responded at the time and we do not intend to complain about a programme we were represented on.

"The BBC face a more generic issue in relation to referendum coverage that has been highlighted by independent academic research and it is for the BBC to explain their overall approach."

A BBC spokesman said: "Andrew himself made it clear on air that he had not been intending to express a personal opinion or that of the BBC, but was simply putting forward an argument from President Barroso who, as European Commission President, has an integral insight within the debate.

"The BBC's coverage of the Scottish Referendum debate has been fair and balanced and we will continue to report on the story without fear or favour."