PAUSE your “failed” Brexit talks now, the SNP has told Boris Johnson – as Brussels leaders insist they will not “buy a pig in a poke”.

Charles Michel, the European Council president, made the comment after talks with the UK hit a wall yesterday.

Boris Johnson and European leaders held the latest round of discussions via videolink – days after Michael Gove gave official notice that the UK will not seek to extend the Brexit transition period.

That leaves just six months to tie up all aspects of the withdrawal deal.

But yesterday both sides seemed to admit they were getting nowhere fast as, in a joint statement, they said “new momentum” was needed, with Michel tweeting: “Ready to put a tiger in the tank but not to buy a pig in a poke.”

Talks will now “intensify” in July in a bid to “create the most conducive conditions for concluding and ratifying a deal before the end of 2020”, the joint statement said.

But SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said a No-Deal Brexit now looks “increasingly likely” and shows it’s “clearer than ever that the only way to protect Scotland’s economic interests and our place at the heart of Europe is to become an independent country”.

And he called on Johnson to seek a two-year extension over the threat this could pose to the already-weakened economy. This contracted 20% in April and analysts say the world could be heading for a Great Depression-style crisis.

Work by the Scottish Government suggests No-Deal could sweep £3 billion off the table in Scotland within a two-year period, while the International Monetary Fund says it may chop 3.5% off UK GDP.

A recent survey by Focaldata found 83% of people in Scotland and 77% Britain across now want Westminster to seek an extension.

Blackford said: “Boris Johnson is taking the UK head-first towards a Brexit disaster, threatening our economy with the growing risk of a devastating bad deal or No-Deal outcome.

“Yet again, the Prime Minister is putting the narrow Tory Brexit obsession ahead of his responsibilities to protect people’s jobs, businesses and living standards. He must think again, pause his failed talks and agree to the two-year transition period extension on offer.

“The UK already faces the worst economic crisis in decades. It would be reckless in the extreme for the Tory Government to pile a Brexit crisis on top of coronavirus, which would put even more jobs and businesses at risk and cause unemployment to soar.

“The Tories are pushing Scotland and the UK towards a longer, protracted recession, which will cause lasting damage to millions of people’s incomes and livelihoods.”

Ahead of yesterday’s call, Johnson had been expected to seek a trade deal by the end of the summer. The two sides are yet to find common ground on fisheries, competition rules, police co-operation and how to enforce a deal.

Downing Street had indicated that Johnson would make clear that the UK is prepared to leave under World Trade Organisation rules from January 1 if the EU will not agree to the terms sought.

Afterwards, Michel stated that a “level playing field is essential” and, referring to joint commitments made in January, European Parliament president David Sassoli said “pacta sunt servanda” – a Latin legal principle meaning “agreements must be kept”.

Meanwhile, French MEP Nathalie Loiseau said the EU is readying itself for a No-Deal result. Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Loiseau said the bloc believes “it is possible to have an agreement”. However, she stated: “We are getting prepared more actively for a No-Deal, considering the circumstances.”

Meanwhile, Scotland’s biggest Remain campaign branded the UK Government “highly reckless” over its refusal to seek a Brexit extension. David Clarke of the European Movement in Scotland called the approach “deaf and blind to the enormous damage a poor Brexit deal or indeed No-Deal will have”.