SCOTLAND's Constitutional Relations Secretary said he is "extremely alarmed" at the lack of evidence of any meaningful negotiations with the EU, after a meeting with the UK Government.

Following the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) meeting in London, Michael Russell said he heard nothing to contradict his fears that the Government is not serious about negotiating a new deal with the EU.

Ahead of the meeting, Russell urged the Government to provide "cast-iron proof" it is still pursuing a Brexit deal, having referenced former work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd's allegation at her resignation that getting an agreement was no longer the Government's main objective.

Speaking in the wake of the gathering of representatives from all of the UK's nations, Russell said: "I am extremely alarmed that, so close to the UK exiting the EU on October 31, we did not hear any convincing evidence that serious negotiations are taking place.

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"We were very concerned before the meeting that it appeared that no substantive talks between the UK Government and the European Union (EU) were ongoing, and we did not hear anything in this meeting to contradict that.

"If any negotiations do take place, the UK Government is obliged under the terms of reference of this committee to inform its members so that it can carry out its responsibility of overseeing such talks.

Michael Gove, the Cabinet member responsible for No-Deal planning, said before the meeting: "The UK Government is working energetically so that we can leave the EU with a deal on October 31, though any deal will require movement from the EU.

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"I have also impressed upon UK Government ministers the vital need to share information on no-deal Brexit preparedness.

"An improvement in the flow of communication was promised – we, of course, look forward to how seriously that undertaking is delivered."

"Our preparations for leaving, with or without a deal, have been accelerated over the past couple of months and we have been working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure that all parts of the UK are ready to leave the EU.

"I am committed to working closely with colleagues across the UK to tackle some of the challenges that still remain.

"I am confident that with continued hard work and collaboration we can continue to make further progress in the weeks ahead."