A TOP Brexiteer who repeatedly urged Scottish voters to ditch “unelected judges in Luxembourg” has now backed a continuing role for the European Court of Justice in Britain.

Tom Harris, former director of Vote Leave in Scotland, said Britain should continue to comply with the European arrest warrant (EAW) after Brexit – even if it means continued oversight by the court in Luxembourg.

The UK Government wants to maintain the EAW but it is unclear how this can be achieved if it ends the jurisdiction of the ECJ which oversees the EAW.

Mr Harris said the EAW is “a really valuable legal mechanism to have within continental Europe” and confirmed he would have “no problem” with continued ECJ oversight.

During the Brexit referendum, Mr Harris repeatedly accused the ECJ of undermining Scottish justice, particularly in relation to its ruling that minimum unit pricing (MUP) on alcohol could be illegal.

Speaking ahead of the Brexit referendum, Mr Harris said: “It should be up to Scotland's democratically elected politicians to decide policy, not unelected judges sitting in a foreign court."

British sovereignty within the EU was ultimately demonstrated when the UK Supreme Court overturned the ECJ ruling in November, clearing the way for the Scottish Parliament to introduce MUP in May.

Mona Siddiqui, chair of Scotland Stronger In Europe, said Mr Harris’s apparent u-turn is a sign Brexiteers are “coming to their senses” on the complexities of leaving the EU.

The EAW hit the headlines last week when Clara Ponsati, a St Andrews University professor and a former minister in Catalonia’s devolved government, surrendered to Police Scotland after Spain charged her with “rebellion” for her role in the unconstitutional Catalan independence referendum.

Mr Harris said Professor Ponsati, 61, should be extradited to face up to 25 years in prison if Scottish courts rule that Spain’s EAW is competent, and said her advancing years are not "remotely relevant" to the case.

“I’ve got every confidence that our judges will make the right decision according to what existing rules are,” he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

“I’m a supporter of the European arrest warrant, even though I voted Leave, because I think it is a really valuable legal mechanism to have within continental Europe.”

Mr Harris insisted he made the case “all the way through the referendum” that the UK could chose to be part of certain treaties after Brexit, and it could continue to be part of the EAW “if we as a sovereign country wish to take part”.

When asked if British compliance should extend all the way up the ECJ, he replied: “If that benefits our citizens, and if it benefits us being able to take people into custody and bring people to justice, then absolutely yes I have no problem at all with that.”

Mr Harris said the widespread support for Ms Ponsati and her cause reflected the desire of “a lot of Scottish nationalists in this country who look at what happened in Catalonia and think that the Scottish Parliament should go down the same route of an illegal referendum that is not provided for within the constitutional arrangement in the UK”.

Ms Siddiqui said: “It’s going to be a minefield what happens to the EAW when we leave.

“One of the principles that Vote Leave campaigned on was that ‘we don’t want to be part of the ECJ’, so in a way I’m glad that he’s saying that because it looks like they’re coming to their senses and that we should be part of that.

“When you want European help on so many issues where we have common interests, how do you extricate yourself completely from the ECJ when it’s actually about the very basis of citizenship which is individual rights.

“I feel misled on a lot of issues Vote Leave campaigned on, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

“What is gradually dawning on people is that whatever intentions they voted on, leaving Europe is far more complex and probably far more painful for us than it will be for the Europeans.”