Talks on devolved powers coming back to Scotland when the UK leaves the European Union have ended in deadlock once again.
The issue was top of the agenda when Theresa May’s right hand man, First Secretary of State Damian Green, met Scottish Brexit Minister Mike Russell in Edinburgh.
Mr Green said he felt progress had been made.
But Mr Russell said the present offer was “a blatant power grab” and Holyrood would refuse to give legislative consent – as also seems likely at the Welsh Assembly.
He said: “Following today’s meeting we remain absolutely clear that, as things stand, we will not recommend to the Scottish Parliament that it gives its consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill.
“The bill as currently drafted is impractical and unworkable.
“It is a blatant power grab which would take existing competence over a wide range of devolved policy areas, including aspects of things like agriculture and fishing, away from Holyrood, giving them instead to Westminster and Whitehall.”
Mr Russell said “serious and significant” changes were essential as the proposals were “a direct threat to devolution”.
He said: “To be clear, that [voting against the Bill] would not block Brexit and we have never claimed to have a veto over EU withdrawal.
“But UK Ministers should still be in no doubt – to override a vote of the Scottish Parliament and impose the EU Withdrawal Bill on Scotland would be an extraordinary and unprecedented step to take.
“What is now needed is a recognition from the UK Government that the bill as drafted cannot proceed. It should be changed to take account of the very serious concerns expressed by the Scottish and Welsh Governments.
“The current proposals are a direct threat to the devolution settlement which the people of Scotland overwhelmingly voted for in 1997.
“As we have made clear, we are not opposed in principle to UK-wide frameworks in certain areas – but this must be on the basis of agreement among equals, not imposed by Westminster.”
Mr Green said: “I thought the talks were positive.
“There are issues on which the UK and Scottish Governments place a different emphasis, but we agreed that we need to work on the principles on which we’ll engage.
“We were also united on the aim that the Scottish Parliament has more powers at the end of this process, and on the importance of preserving free trade within the United Kingdom.
“We’ve agreed more talks in a few weeks time, and I am confident we’ll be able to reassure the Scottish Government further of our good faith on these matters.”