A SNP MSP has raised concerns over what the impact of Brexit proposals for the Irish border could be on Scotland.

Emma Harper, who represents the South of Scotland, pressed Brexit minister Mike Russell on the subject when he appeared before Holyrood’s finance and constitution committee to update them on the UK Government’s EU Withdrawal Bill.

Referring to the Russell’s recent visit to Ireland, where he had a tour of the “peace wall” in Belfast, Harper asked him how developments to sort out the border impasse could “help or hinder” Scotland.

She said: “I know the border in Ireland continues to be a huge sticking point. My area includes Cairnryan, which is the third-largest ferry port. Is there any progress on the border and, if there is, how will it help or hinder us in Scotland?”

Russell responded “we have to be careful in discussing that issue” without giving a definitive answer. He went on to elaborate on his visit to Dublin and Belfast.

“I was very struck by the sensitivity and the importance of the border issue there,” he said, referring to Belfast. “I was in Brussels last week, too, where I was struck by how the dialogue there on the question of sufficient progress’ on that issue had changed utterly in the two or three weeks since I was last there.

He added: “It had moved on from issues of finance and citizens’ rights to a focus that was almost entirely on the border issue and how it would be resolved. That will be up to negotiators and others, but it is a very difficult conundrum. It is obviously utterly unacceptable to Ireland and to many people in Northern Ireland that there should be any impediment on the border.”