EUROPE Minister Alasdair Allan has dismissed “fanciful” suggestions of a “sunlit” relationship with the EU after Brexit.

Allan was appearing before the Scottish Affairs Committee in Westminster as part of its immigration inquiry when Tory MP Ross Thomson, who represents Aberdeen South, suggested Westminster plans to secure the “free-est possible trade” after quitting the bloc would negate Holyrood’s calls for Scotland-specific rules on migration.

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The move is in response to fears that pursuing a Tory pledge to slash net migration will see Scotland’s population plummet, exacerbating skills gaps and harming the economy.

Scottish Government predictions suggest meeting the target would cut up to £10 billion a year from the country’s GDP by 2040.

Responding to Thomson, Allan said: “I don’t think even the most charitable observer could say that the UK is presently headed for anything like a successful trading relationship with our European partners.

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“I don’t think anyone could say that we are currently headed for a situation that doesn’t contain within it risks of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, risks of tariffs, risks – more than risks – the certainty of incalculable damage to the bilateral relationship which we have with our European partners and I think to characterise where we are headed as the bright, sunlit uplands of a new relationship with Europe is a bit fanciful.”

The committee heard that Theresa May presided over seven immigration bills and 45,000 changes to immigration rules while she was serving as Home Secretary.