Scotland’s role in Brexit negotiations is being undermined by a stubborn UK government which is ignoring the devolved nations.
Brexit minister Mike Russell, who addressed a breakfast meeting at The Gathering, reiterated that with less than five weeks before the triggering of Article 50, UK ministers are still refusing to negotiate.
And if the government still continued with its “entrenched” position a new referendum on Independence will be the only option.
In a question and answer session, Russell said that the people of Scotland voted to remain in the UK but prime minister was still refusing to consider the Scottish Government’s paper on Brexit.
“I can’t guarantee negotiations will take place,” he said. “It cannot be, in the words of the prime minister, that we will leave as one nation. It takes no account of Scotland or devolution.
“There must be a central place for the interests of the devolved nations. It very much work in progress and it is at heart about who we see ourselves and the kind of country we want to be.”
And if they (UK government) continue to ignore the document “then I think we all know the outcome,” he said.
Russell's comments come after David Mundell, Scotland's only Tory MP, said this week Scotland will be outside of the EU regardless whether Nicola Sturgeon wins a second independence referendum.
The Scottish secretary told a meeting of Holyrood’s Europe and external relations committee on Wednesday that there is “no set of circumstances” in which Scotland will stay within the EU when the UK leaves.
Even if there was a vote for independence, Scotland would have to apply for EU membership from scratch and advised against making “easy assumptions” about how long this would take and the terms that would be offered by Brussels.
Paul Reddish, chief executive of Project Scotland, who also spoke at the event, said the impact on the sector would be considerable especially when ESF funding ran out.
“Some 40% of our frontline team are part funded by European cash so the impact on us as an organisation would be sizeable," he said.