BREXIT minister Michael Russell hit out at David Mundell yesterday after he told the BBC “general agreement” had been reached on amending the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The Scottish Secretary also refused to retract his party’s criticisms of Scottish Government calculations on the cost of leaving the bloc, despite a leaked paper showing Westminster has come to the same conclusions.

The draft analysis stated that the economy will suffer a drop in growth of between two and eight per cent, depending on what level of agreement is reached with Brussels.

This is in line with the numbers reached by the Scottish Government in its paper just a fortnight before, which drew accusations of “scaremongering” from the Tory party.

Appearing on BBC Radio Scotland yesterday, Mundell was asked if that criticism was justified.

He replied that the Holyrood analysis had focused “on the negative aspects of leaving the EU”, adding: “We want to have a balanced approach, not only putting forward the facts but also actually recognising that there are very significant opportunities if we can seize them in developing new trading relations around the world. That’s what we’re about.”

During the interview, presenter Gary Robertson pressed Mundell on why an agreement on the wording of Clause 11 of the EU Withdrawal Bill, which concerns the return of powers from Brussels, has not been reached despite months of wrangling and a personal pledge from the Scottish Secretary.

Assuring Robertson that there are “words that have been written down by officials”, Mundell said: “I don’t think they’re going round in circles because since we last met in December a huge amount of work has been done by officials behind the scenes.

“There is general agreement on the shape of the amendment to Clause 11. What we now undertake to do is to put that in words with both the Welsh Government and Scottish Government, propose an amendment, get their feedback on it.

“What we want to do is go forward with an agreed amendment, an amendment the Scottish Government feel able, when it’s being applied to Clause 11 in the Bill, feel able to recommend that the Scottish Parliament grant legislative consent.”

He went on: “I made it very clear at the dispatch box that it was my wish that the bill could be amended in the Commons and that we could have had the debate there.

“I take responsibility for not meeting a timescale that we aspired to.

“I don’t think that it is preferential that the amendment should be put down in the House of Lords, but I do think that it’s vital that the amendment is agreed with the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

“There is no point in putting down an amendment that the government could have voted down that the Scottish and the Welsh government couldn’t agree and that couldn’t have been recommended to the Scottish Government.”

However, following the live broadcast, Russell countered: “It is simply not the case that we are in ‘general agreement on the shape’ of the changes needed to the EU Withdrawal Bill and it is completely wrong to claim so.

“As far back as September the Scottish and Welsh governments published amendments to the bill that would have protected devolution, and which would have formed the basis of an agreement.

“Those amendments were rejected by the UK Government, but despite making a firm commitment to bring forward changes to the crucial clause 11 of the bill, it has failed to do so.

“The fact is, after months of discussions, the UK Government has not yet brought forward any amendment and has rejected the only proposal that has been tabled. Making incorrect claims can only damage the process.

“The EU Withdrawal Bill as currently drafted will mean the UK Government taking control of what are clearly devolved policy areas – and on that basis the Scottish Parliament has agreed on a cross-party basis that the bill is incompatible with devolution.

“The UK Government at present is still intent on pressing ahead with a bill which as it stands does not protect the democratically endorsed devolution settlement, something the Scottish Government could and will never agree to.”