THE UK Government’s “petty and patronising attitude” will see Humza Yousaf’s meeting with a top European Commission leader monitored by a high-level British diplomat.

The First Minister is currently in Brussels, where he will meet with commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic.

But at the orders of the Foreign Secretary, the UK’s top ambassador to the EU will sit in on the meeting.

Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby will be tasked with ensuring that Yousaf does not talk about matters which are reserved to the UK Government, even if Sefcovic asks.

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One expert suggested to The National that, while it is not unusual for UK diplomats to sit in on such meetings, the presence of the ambassador himself may be an exceptional case because more junior staff would not feel comfortable intervening as the Tories would like.

In April, the UK Government issued a diktat to British diplomats around the world ordering them to monitor and report on any Scottish Government activity overseas.

When former first minister Nicola Sturgeon met the EU’s then chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in 2020, minutes of the meeting show that only Scottish Government staff were present – although there was a “[redacted]” attendee on the Scottish side.

When Sturgeon visited Brussels in the wake of the Brexit vote in 2016 she met with top figures including Jean Claude Juncker, then president of the European Commission, and Martin Schulz, the European Parliament president.

According to a Freedom of Information response from the Scottish Government, no minutes of those meetings were held.

The National: SNP MP Chris Law (David Woolfall/UK Parliament)

Chris Law (above), the SNP’s Westminster spokesperson for international development, said that the Tory “meddling” in Yousaf’s visit would not achieve its aim.

Law said: “Whilst James Cleverly and Alister Jack appear determined to limit Scotland's international ambitions and shut down Scotland's voice in the world, their petty and patronising attitude to the Scottish Government's work overseas will not succeed.

“The Scottish people see their future in the EU, and it is only right that our First Minister builds that relationship with our European neighbours through his visit to Brussels and proposal to have a Scottish Government representative there.

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“No amount of Tory-led meddling from Westminster will prevent our partners across the world from recognising the divergent political values between Scotland and the UK, and that Scotland's future is an independent one.”

The Foreign Office has been approached for comment, and asked if it has a record of how often a UK ambassador has sat in on meetings between a first minister and a foreign representative.

Elsewhere during his trip to Brussels, Yousaf has spoken at the European Policy Centre, where he told senior figures of Scotland’s important role in areas like renewable energy, the wellbeing economy, and science and innovation.

He also sat down with Minister-President of Flanders Jan Jambon, where they both signed a Memorandum of Understanding on trade, research, culture and the environment.