The exiled former president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, unexpectedly arrived in Scotland last night with plans to highlight the issue of Catalan independence.

Mr Puigdemont was making his first trip outside Belgium since his international arrest warrant was lifted by the Spanish Authorities.

His arrival comes at a crucial time following the formation of a new government in Spain and just days after it emerged that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has plans to visit Catalonia later this year.

Mr Puigdemont is set to speak at Beyond Borders International Festival in the Scottish Borders on Sunday, at a session entitled ‘Where Now for Catalonia and Europe?’

Current Catalan President Quim Torra, who was a guest at Bute House last month, was originally intended to appear at the Festival. Instead the Festival organisers confirmed that Mr. Puigdemont will discuss the turbulent political developments that have affected the region and the potential emerging democratic deficit in Europe.

He is expected to renew his call for dialogue and proportionality amid tensions between Barcelona and Madrid over the ongoing detention of nine Catalan political prisoners.

The exiled leader announced his arrival on Twitter: “I just arrived in #Escòcia invited by the diplomatic Forum @BeyondBorders to explain the conflict in Catalan. We invite the international activity to fight for the freedom of the #RepúblicaCatalana”.

Last month an attempt by Spanish authorities to extradite the former president of Catalonia ended in failure. He had returned to the offices of Catalonia’s delegation in Brussels, from where he pledged to continue working towards Catalonia’s independence.

He said at the time: “This is not the end of the journey. I will travel to the last corner of Europe to defend the just cause of the Catalan people.”

A key figure in the Catalan independence campaign, Mr. Puigdemont has been under self-imposed exile in Belgium since last October.

Beyond Border’s founder Mark Muller Stuart said ‘Beyond Borders Scotland seeks to promote mutual understanding between different cultures, peoples and nations by providing a neutral platform for international exchange and debate. "