Ireland is more influential and powerful than the UK for the first time in its history, according to a leading SNP MEP.

Alyn Smith said the government in Dublin had the "upper hand" over its counterpart in London.

The SNP politician said the UK's standing had been diminished due to Brexit.

However, Smith said that by contrast the government in Dublin had "made clear that Ireland's future lies in Europe".

Smith said that as a consequence Ireland benefited from the "solidarity" of the other EU nations.

He said that had Scotland voted Yes in 2014 it could have had a similar status to Ireland.

"Ireland proves what independence in Europe actually means, a platform on which to shine and the solidarity of 26 other friends and neighbours to fall back on," Smith said.

Smith made the claim ahead of a visit by Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to the European Parliament on Wednesday.

Smith said: "For the first time in the Republic's history Ireland has the upper hand in dealings with London, because Dublin has made clear that Ireland's future lies in Europe.

"From Scotland's perspective it makes it all the more poignant that had we voted Yes in 2014 we would be in the same hugely powerful position. But we are where we are and it is imperative that we continue to build on the links we have with Ireland, and intensify the Edinburgh-Dublin co-operation that has blossomed in recent years.

"It underlines where Ireland is that the Taoiseach is coming to address Parliament not on Brexit but on the future of Europe. His ideas are sensible and credible and are not just being listened to they're influential. The EU needs to reform, and is going to reform, and Ireland is at the heart of it."

However, a UK Government spokeswoman said Britain would remain an influential nation in Europe after Brexit.

The spokeswoman said: "We will negotiate a deal which works for Scotland and the whole of the UK as we forge a bold and ambitious future economic partnership with the EU."