SCOTLAND has been told it will have to go to the back of the queue if it wants to join the EU after Brexit.
The warning came as Downing Street sources said Nicola Sturgeon might have to wait until 2021 before holding the referendum she wants.
The Scottish first minister has demanded a new vote on independence by spring 2019 to give Scotland a chance to avoid Brexit.
But Spain, which has its own separatist problems, insisted Scotland ‘can’t just stay in the EU’ after the split.
Echoing Barack Obama’s comments on Britain’s trade deal status, foreign minister Alfonso Dastis said Scotland ‘would have to queue, meet the requirements for entry and hold negotiations’.
He added: ‘We support the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom and do not encourage divisions in any member states.’
Ms Sturgeon said she had a ‘cast iron mandate’ for a referendum, tweeting: ‘Trading mandates does not put PM on strong ground. The PM is not yet elected by anyone.’
Mrs May accused Scottish Nationalists of reneging on their claim that the 2014 independence referendum was a ‘once in a generation’ decision. She told MPs: ‘It seems a generation now is less than three years. This is not a moment to play politics or create uncertainty. It’s a moment to bring our country together and reflect the views of the British people.’
Jeremy Corbyn warned her against leaving the EU if her Brexit deal is rejected. ‘When the prime minister says no deal is better than a bad deal, let me be clear, no deal is a bad deal,’ the Labour leader said. ‘If the wrong decisions are made we will pay the price for decades to come.’
Mrs May is expected to officially trigger Brexit on March 27 after it receives royal assent later this week.
Meanwhile a new report says support for Scottish independence has risen — although Scots have become ‘more sceptical’ about the EU. The ScotCen survey put support at 46 per cent in 2016, compared with 39 per cent the previous year. Polling expert Prof John Curtis said a referendum would be a ‘50/50 contest’.