WE’LL publish and you’ll be damned – that was the message yesterday from Scotland’s Brexit Minister Mike Russell.

He pledged that if the Scottish Government was given the UK Government’s Brexit economic damage analysis leaked at the weekend, it would be made public in full.

The study leaked to news site Buzzfeed said that in each of three different scenarios, the UK economy would grow more slowly than it would if it stayed in the European Union.

Russell spoke exclusively to The National and said: “The UK Government needs to start behaving like a government and bring to the table clear proposals, backed up by evidence.

“They could start by publishing their own studies which seem to bear out our projections. Those should drive them to the inevitable conclusion that the least worst solution is to stay in the single market and the customs union, though not leaving the EU would be even better.

“They need then to propose an amendment to the Withdrawal Bill which we can accept, rather than waffle about what they will do at some unspecified time in the future.

“Finally they must agree the detail of involving the devolved administrations in the second phase of the EU negotiation so that we speak for our areas of responsibility.

“We have had enough meetings about meetings and commitments that are never honoured.

The National:

“We have also had enough of secret documents. I have made it clear to David Davis today that if we get the document leaked to Buzzfeed, we will publish it to sit alongside our document.”

The letter to Davis said “I refer to the commitment by Robin Walker MP in the House of Commons to making available to Members of Parliament copies of the UK Government’s EU Exit Analysis, Cross Whitehall Briefing, as described by Buzzfeed on January 29, 2018.

“Mr Walker made it clear yesterday afternoon that the UK Government does intend to make this information available to the devolved administrations, as you did with the previous reports following my representation. I welcome this.

“Mr Walker further clarified that it would be a matter for the devolved administrations to ensure that such documents are handled with appropriate confidentiality, but would have no objection in principle to their being shared with members of the devolved legislatures on the same basis as was previously shared with MPs.

“As you are aware the Scottish Government considers that the public have a right to know the impact on jobs and living standards of the UK Government’s decision to pursue the UK’s exit from the EU and therefore that this analysis should be made publicly available.

“Further, this is not our analysis and we do not see it as our responsibility to make arrangements on confidential handling. I want to be clear that if you send the analysis to us we will make it public.”

The Prime Minister’s deputy spokesman was questioned about whether the UK Government would publish the documents now given the threat from Russell.

The National:

“We have been clear that we expect those who have access to the published analysis – as it is in the overwhelming national interest – not to publish anything that could risk exposing our negotiating position,” he said.

Russell and Deputy First Minister John Swinney met Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington yesterday evening mainly to discuss the EU Withdrawal Bill and the threat to devolution which it does not address, though Scottish Government sources told The National that Lidington brought no new meaningful ideas for discussion.

After the meeting, Russell said it had been another “frustrating” occasion: “We were pleased to welcome Mr Lidington and Mr Mundell today to set out the concerns of the Scottish Government about the Brexit process,” he said.

“However, although today’s meeting was a useful opportunity to impress again on the UK Government, the Scottish Parliament’s unanimous view that the EU Withdrawal Bill is incompatible with devolution, both the Deputy First Minister and I found the discussion very frustrating.

“The UK Government has rejected Scottish and Welsh government amendments that would protect devolution but, despite its previous commitment, has failed to bring forward any solution of its own. Despite many meetings, once again the UK ministers arrived and left without putting words on the table to allow for a meaningful discussion.

“So we are still in the position that the Scottish Government cannot and will not recommend that the Bill should receive legislative consent.”