NICOLA Sturgeon has said it is "perfectly sensible" to argue an independent Scotland could join the euro, after the SNP's top European election candidate signalled he is open to the idea.

The First Minister stressed her party has no policy of using the euro, but insisted Scotland “would have the currency arrangements that are best for the economy of the country”.

It comes just weeks after SNP members voted to keep the pound immediately after independence before moving to a new Scottish currency "as soon as practicable".

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Ms Sturgeon was asked about remarks made by SNP MEP Alyn Smith, the party's lead candidate in the upcoming polls.

Appearing on STV’s Scotland Tonight programme, Mr Smith said he was “agnostic on currency stuff”.

He said: "We’ve had, within the SNP, a lively debate about what sort of currency options there will be for an independent Scotland. What we’ve agreed is a way to get to that proper decision.

“Now, we could keep sterling, we could keep sterling in a formal currency union, we could create an independent Scottish currency, or we could join the euro.

“We could negotiate other options as well depending on the circumstances of the time.”

Asked which option he would go for, he said: “I don’t have a preference. My preference is what’s best for the Scottish economy on the facts as they come."

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He continued: “I’ve said I’m agnostic on the currency question. It’s about what matters best for the economic stability of our country, for long-term investment, people’s pensions, people’s homes.

“This is too important to just be a matter of ideology. This is about what works best.

“The euro is working well across the European continent. Sterling, also, is our currency too. Scotland’s a rich country – we’re going to have lots of options in this discussion.”

Scottish Labour MEP David Martin said the public would be “alarmed to learn the SNP’s top candidate is open to dumping the pound for the euro”, adding: “That will create a currency barrier between Scotland and the rest of the UK, costing jobs and putting pensions at risk."

Sheila Ritchie, the Scottish Liberal Democrats' top candidate, said: “SNP indecision and confusion will send shivers up the spine of everyone who lives and works in Scotland."

But Ms Sturgeon defended the comments as she met EU citizens at an event in Edinburgh.

She said: “The SNP has no policy of using the euro, and we’ve made that abundantly clear.

“I think what is clear about Labour and the Tories is they’ll attack whatever policy the SNP puts forward on the currency, because they want to put across the message that Scotland uniquely, amongst all the countries in the world, would be incapable of having a currency policy. That is nonsense, and I think the majority of people see through that.

“Alyn’s comments on currency are perfectly sensible. The point at the heart of those comments is that Scotland, like every other country, would have the currency arrangements that are best for the economy of the country.

“That’s what being independent allows you to do, rather than having policies whether it’s Brexit or anything else imposed on us by a Westminster Government.”

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Asked to confirm the SNP’s position was to move to a new currency once six key economic tests are met, she said: “When Scotland becomes independent, we keep the pound because that’s our currency as well as the currency of the rest of the UK.

“And when the time is right we will move to an independent Scottish currency based on the tests that are set out.

“That’s a common sense, sensible position that has an independent Scotland putting our own interests to the forefront, instead of having these positions dictated to us and imposed upon us, regardless of what’s in our interest.”

Mr Smith has been an SNP MEP since 2004, and previously voiced support for joining the euro.

Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “Alyn Smith has previously supported the euro for Scotland so to say he is now agnostic is unacceptable.

“It is unacceptable that a leading SNP candidate is agnostic about the currency of your pension, your mortgage and your job.

“The fact is that the SNP knows that Scots don’t want the euro.

“This is a dishonest fudge by Mr Smith, but this won’t fool the voters.

“Alyn Smith and his SNP pals must come clean and admit that they would welcome the euro in Scotland.”