UNDER tough questioning from the BBC’s Andrew Neil (“Sturgeon put on the spot over currency and NHS”, The Herald, November 26), Nicola Sturgeon stumbled into making ever more outrageous claims, including that the EU would allow an independent Scotland to join the EU “relatively quickly”, without its own currency or meeting the usual sustainable deficit test. Other members of the SNP leadership have previously claimed we could secure an opt-out from the Common Fisheries policy.

If the First Minister is confident we will get such special treatment from the EU, setting aside its usual terms of membership, will she get us a guarantee from Brussels on all of this before putting Scotland through another divisive referendum?

Keith Howell, West Linton.

THE Andrew Neil interview with Nicola Sturgeon was such an overwhelming filleting of the First Minister and the SNP in general that I almost – almost – felt sorry for her.

It was so bad that one wonders how it was allowed to be broadcast before the watershed.

James Martin, Bearsden.

POLARISED reaction in traditional and social media to Nicola Sturgeon’s interview by Andrew Neil show that she has become the Marmite politician her predecessor, Alex Salmond was.

In Holyrood and Westminster elections, this hasn't really become a huge issue for her since the SNP divides and rules so effectively. Independence largely defines how Scots vote so it's beyond beneficial for Ms Sturgeon that the votes of those who oppose nationalist dogma are diluted between three pro-UK parties.

Opinion polls suggest the SNP may well gain some ground on December 12 – but enough to justify Ms Sturgeon claiming the indyref2 mandate that she inevitably will? In the 2017 election, the SNP took 59 per cent of seats with a 37 per cent share of the vote – 63 per cent of us voted against separation.

Ms Sturgeon's independence crusade defines who she is and what her party primarily stands for. She used to say she'd only be serious about indyref2 if partitioning the UK consistently achieved 60 per cent in opinion polls.

A major opinion poll takes place on December 12 – is she about to see a huge surge in support to 60 per cent on that date? We'll soon find out.

Martin Redfern, Edinburgh EH10.

I HAVE great admiration for Nicola Sturgeon's capacity to handle hostile questioning from the UK media and she displayed this once again last night in the BBC interview with Andrew Neil.

Ms Sturgeon said post-Brexit conditions and independence plans are difficult to discuss because we are in an election period and we don't yet know what a Brexit deal will look like. Mr Neil went round and round the gardens on this with his usual hectoring demeanour. The purpose of this is to undermine and confuse interviewees and put them on the back foot.

Where Ms Sturgeon appeared to be on shaky ground was on two points – the Growth Commission and Scotland's deficit.

Andrew Wilson's Growth Commission has been a source of controversy among the Yes movement, whose members have largely condemned it as a reflection of the neo-liberal thinking that brought about the 2008 banking crash. His six-point strategy towards a new Scottish currency is unnecessary and complicates what is essentially a fairly simple process. Last night it was used to go after the First Minister and left her looking vulnerable.

The second issue about Mr Neil's claim of Scotland "having the highest deficit in Europe" is easily answered. Scotland doesn't have a deficit because the arrangements around the Barnett Formula don't allow it. Scotland has to stay within its budget. Scotland has been allocated a proportion of the UK deficit which includes UK borrowing on HS2, Crossrail and many of the other grand projects for London and the South East. Additionally, Scotland's tax revenues to the Treasury exceed the amounts that come back to Scotland via the Barnett Formula.

Both these issues need to be challenged vigorously by the Scottish Government now, because they will resurface again and again when we get into the run-up for a new Scottish independence referendum.

Maggie Chetty, Glasgow G13.

ANDREW Neil did not ask the impact on rUK of barriers between an independent Scotland and rUK. The UK national debt under the strong and stable, broad-shouldered Westminster has been growing since 2010 and now stands at £1.7 trillion, more than 80 per cent of national output.

The Office for National Statistics has revised the annual UK budget deficit in the financial year 2018-19 financial year up to £41.3 billion. If the trend for the first months of 2019-20 continued for the rest of the year the deficit would be close to £53bn, £12bn higher than the Government’s fiscal watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility estimated in March.

Remaining in the Union with a reckless UK-Westminster mismanagement of the macro economy and uncertainty over the future of Brexit is not a route Scotland can take any any more.

As the present UK Government refuses to publish the economic impact of Boris Johnson's Brexit withdrawal proposal, let alone any outlines of a future trade deal with the EU, perhaps Mr Neil should be questioning the fundamentals of his beloved, distorted and near-bankrupted Union.

John Edgar, Kilmaurs.

Read more: Sturgeon: Scotland will be on currency 'journey'