NICOLA STURGEON used a meeting with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator to call for the UK to remain in the single market.

The First Minister was in Brussels yesterday morning to meet Michel Barnier, ahead of the formal talks between the EU and Whitehall resuming on Monday.

The SNP leader called the meeting “useful and constructive”.

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Barnier held similar meetings with Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking after the 45-minute meeting, Sturgeon said: “This was a useful and constructive meeting and I welcomed the opportunity to discuss Scotland’s priorities with Mr Barnier – in particular our view that the UK should seek to remain in the single market.

“I outlined to Mr Barnier that our priority is to protect Scotland’s vital economic interests, and that the Scottish Government will do all it can to build a consensus against an extreme Brexit outside the single market, which would have potentially catastrophic consequences for jobs, investment and our living standards.

“We have always been clear that this is not about holding separate Scottish negotiations – it is for the UK as the member state to negotiate with the EU – and as such we will continue to work hard to influence the UK position. However, meetings like this are helpful in developing a mutual understanding between the Scottish Government and the EU as these vital negotiations gather pace.”

Corbyn, who gave the Frenchman an Arsenal shirt with Barnier emblazoned on the back, said he was there to lay out Labour’s vision for Brexit.

The Labour leader said he told Barnier his party respected the result of last year’s referendum and expressed “our wish to maintain jobs in Britain” and an “effective economic relationship with Europe in the future.”

“We have to make sure that our economy is strong, that jobs are maintained and to recognize the importance of our trade relationship with Europe,” he said, adding “there has to be a lot of changes in Britain, including a fairness of investment across the whole of the UK We can no longer go on with these huge areas of regional imbalances across the UK, these areas of unemployment.”

Corbyn said his reason for meeting with the negotiator was part of his “forming an opinion on what the EU really wants in this.”

He said Barnier had told him the EU “wants very good relations with the UK in the future.”