The UK government has shot down a proposal for Orkney to break away from the United Kingdom, saying it has "no plans" to change the devolution settlement.

Orkney’s council leader James Stockan put forward a motion which says it is time for the islands to consider other forms of governance, possibly along the lines of crown dependencies such as Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man or reviving historic ties with Norway.

The motion is due to be debated on Tuesday, with one of the options becoming a self-governing part of Norway as the Faroe Islands is with Denmark.

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Mr Stockan said on BBC Radio Scotland: "We are really struggling at the moment, we have to replace the whole ferry fleet which is older than the CalMac fleet.

"We are denied the things that other areas get like RET (Road Equivalent Tariff) for ferry fares.

"And the funding we get from the Scottish government is significantly less per head than Shetland and the Western Isles to run the same services - we can't go on as we are."

But No 10 shut down the options, with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman telling reporters: “First and foremost, there is no mechanism for the conferral of crown dependency or overseas territory status on any part of the UK.

“But fundamentally, we are stronger as one United Kingdom, we have no plans to change that.

“We’ve got no plans to change the devolution settlement. We are supporting Orkney already with £50 million to grow the economic prosperity of the Scottish islands, through the islands deal.

“But the government’s position is that the UK is stronger united.”