CONSTITUTION Secretary has said the decision to halt planning for a second independence referendum needs to be revisited due to the Brexit process.

Mike Russell railed against these negotiations and a perceived lack of engagement with the devolved nations from the UK Government when he appeared before Holyrood's Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee.

The Scottish Government announced in March it would postpone planning for another independence referendum in 2020, an issue that was key to the SNP election campaign in 2019.

Following the 2019 General Election, the Scottish Government requested the powers to hold a second independence referendum, which was rejected by the Prime Minister.

Russell told MSPs the UK Government has refused to compromise on seeking an extension to the December 31 date for the end of the transition period with the EU in the way the Scottish Government has on Scottish independence.

He added: "The fact that they've refused to do so shows me that the compromise that we have taken in order to ensure that all our resources are focused on Covid-19 is something we will need to revisit."

The Cabinet minister said this is "one of the bigger impacts you can have on the economy" without the risk of the increased spread of coronavirus.

He questioned the timing of the Brexit process, which is expected coincide with a recovery from one of the worst recessions in recorded history due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Russell said: "If you accept that is the case, what type of insanity would then lead you to suppose you could pile on an additional hit to GDP?

"The only reason for doing it would be because ideologically you're fixated by this or because you think you can hide the damage from Brexit under worse damage being done by something else."

Russell also criticised the Joint Ministerial Committee, which brings together officials from the devolved administrations and UK Government to discuss common issues.

A separate sub-committee has been set up specifically for the EU negotiations.
He said a number of ideas were put forward by the devolved countries but "zilch" was offered by the UK Government.

Russell said: "We've brought ideas to the table, we've talked about them, we've published them.

"You have zilch from the UK Government. There is no commitment to change, no matter what is said.

"I believe there is a deep-rooted hostility to devolution and a view of the supremacy of Westminster that I believe can't be changed."