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23 August 2018, 10:22
The UK Government has been urged to rule out a no-deal Brexit as it prepares to publish a series of technical notices advising businesses and the public on how to prepare for such a scenario.
Scotland's Constitutional Relations Secretary Mike Russell said such an outcome "would be deeply damaging and disruptive" to the UK and EU.
His call came as the UK Government details papers to ensure the "smooth, continued, functioning" of the UK economy in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said a good deal remains the top priority in negotiations with the EU but technical notices are being published on Thursday advising businesses and the public on what they need to do to prepare for a no-deal scenario.
Mr Russell said: "A 'no deal' Brexit would be deeply damaging and disruptive for Scotland, the rest of the UK and the EU. Indeed, it has been described as a 'cliff-edge scenario' by the European Commission.
"It is therefore time for the UK Government to immediately rule it out and accept the Scottish Government's strong case, if Brexit goes ahead, for remaining within the European single market and customs union.
"As a responsible government, we must prepare for all exit possibilities. However, we are constrained by the lack of clarity on the direction of negotiations with the EU and by uncertainty about the possible outcome of that. And for significant reserved areas, such as aviation and energy, we are at the mercy of the UK Government's preparations.
"It would be far better for Scotland and the UK if, instead of putting effort into an undesirable 'no deal' scenario, the UK Government focused on securing the least worst outcome for all of us."