THE Spanish government has poured cold water on Nicola Sturgeon’s proposal for a bespoke deal for Scotland if the rest of the UK leaves the EU in a hard Brexit.

The First Minister launched a detailed 62-page blueprint earlier this week on how Scotland might be able to stay in the EU single market, even if the rest of the UK were outside it.

She acknowledged the idea, in which Scotland relationship to the single market would be akin to that of Norway, would require considerable help from the UK and the other EU states.

However Jorge Toledo, the Spanish secretary of state for the European Union, was reported yesterday as saying: “If the UK leaves the single marker, the whole UK will leave the single market. There is only one negotiator, the UK government.”

Madrid is opposed to a distinct Brexit deal for Scotland - just as it opposed Scottish independence in 2014 - in case it encourages its own separatist movement in Catalonia.

Another hurdle for Ms Sturgeon is that the UK government would need to prioritise Scotland over some of its own domestic demands in negotiations with the other 27 EU nations.

Prime Minister Theresa May said earlier this week that she would consider the SNP government’s proposal, but also said it may be “impractical”.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said earlier this month there could not be a different Brexit deal for Scotland or any other part of the UK, and a bespoke arrangement was “not realistic”.