JACKSON Carlaw has been challenged to join cross-party efforts to seek an extension to the current Brexit timetable after the failure in the latest round of trade talks.

The prospect of a No-Deal situation increased further yesterday as negotiation stalled between the EU and the UK on the future relationship.

The SNP, the Scottish Greens, Labour and the LibDems want Boris Johnson’s Government to seek an extension to the talks to prevent the UK crashing out and having to trade on World Trade Organisation rules – a situation which would create tariffs on exports and imports and increase consumer costs.

The deadline to request a delay is the end of this month and Johnson has repeatedly insisted he will not seek one.

Earlier this year Carlaw said he was a “pragmatist” on the question of extending transition but has since backed Johnson’s harder line.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown appealed to Carlaw – who initially supported Remain – to back an extension after a Scottish Government report published earlier this week renewed warnings about the negative consequences on jobs and the economy of No-Deal.

“The Tories have more faces than Big Ben. Jackson Carlaw, the former Remainer and outspoken opponent of Boris Johnson, has now fallen well and truly into line with Downing Street’s disastrous plan to hammer Scottish jobs,” Brown said. “Whether you voted Leave or Remain, it’s clear as day that we shouldn’t be pushing ahead with Brexit while facing an unprecedented pandemic.”

He added: “Businesses can’t prepare for Brexit and can’t afford the disruption it would cause. The UK Government has a window in which they can extend the transition period and give the economy some breathing space – but the clock is ticking. It’s time for the Tories to join our calls to protect Scottish jobs – instead of looking after their own.”

The new Scottish Government study concluded that refusal by the Conservatives to agree an extension to the transition period would over two years cost the economy in Scotland up to £3 billion in cumulative lost activity on top of the “devastating effects of the coronavirus outbreak”.

When publishing the document, Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said: “The Scottish Government believes the best future for Scotland is to be an independent member of the EU – but regardless of people’s views on independence or Brexit, it makes no sense to impose additional damage on Scotland’s economy at this of all times.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “The best outcome is for the UK to leave the EU and have this settled in the timescales already agreed.

“Any delay would spread uncertainty and go against the express will of the British people.”