BORIS Johnson’s Government has come under attack over a “lack of democratic legitimacy” after it failed to take account of Scotland’s opposition to Brexit.

European expert Anthony Salamone underlined that UK ministers did not take account of multiple pro-EU motions passed in Holyrood and that MSPs not approving legislation to leave the bloc raised issues of democracy and trust.

He described the current state of negotiations as “dire” and blamed “British exceptionalism” and a sense of “disconnect” from reality in its approach.

Salamone set out his views to MSPs on Holyrood’s culture, tourism and external affairs committee which is examining the negotiations.

“The UK Government took little account of the Scottish Parliament during the withdrawal process, considering that it did not take any action in response to the Parliament’s multiple pro-European motions and that it proceeded with the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 despite the Parliament’s refusal of legislative consent,” he wrote in a submission ahead of tomorrow’s meeting.

“Given that neither the Scottish Parliament nor the cohort of Scottish MPs in the House of Commons ever agreed to Brexit, the UK’s approach to EU withdrawal or the UK’s objectives for the EU-UK future relationship, the UK Government’s actions lack democratic legitimacy with respect to Scotland. These circumstances raise serious issues of democracy, trust and accountability which have been left completely unresolved.”

Salamone, who is managing director of the consultancy European Merchants, called for the implementation period – due to end on December 31 – to be extended to the end of December 2022 warning that “in present circumstances, the chances of securing an adequate EU-UK future relationship in time are remarkably low”.

He said: “The enormity of constructing this new relationship should not be underestimated. After 46 years of membership of the Union, the UK is seeking to establish a new arrangement in the space of several months. Regrettably, the current state of the negotiations can only be described as dire.”

He added: “A default outcome of no EU-UK partnership would be highly damaging to Scotland and the UK. To prevent that eventuality, and in view of the state of the negotiations, the transition period should be extended for the maximum available of two years – moving its expiration to December 31, 2022. It would be purely ideological to reject extending the transition period without considering all the costs and consequences.”

The expert blamed the UK’s “highly unrealistic expectations” and that at this late stage it did not seem to appreciate the structural weakness of its negotiating position.

Simply put, the EU and the UK are not equals,” he said. “It is evident the EU holds a vastly superior negotiating position. Instead of recognising the UK’s very difficult circumstances and attempting to craft a suitable strategy, the UK Government has persisted in its exceptionalist approach.”

He added: “The UK is no longer a powerful member of the Union, but a modestly significant third country.”

The UK left the EU on January 31, but the main terms of its membership remain in place for a transition period until the end of this year. Both the UK’s and the EU’s chief negotiators have given pessimistic assessments of the talks, saying the other side had to give ground.

David McAllister, chair of the UK Coordination Group in the European Parliament, will give evidence to the Holyrood committee tomorrow.