MSPs have pressed Mike Russell to publish details of the preparations the Scottish Government is making for a no-deal Brexit.
Members of Holyrood’s Europe Committee made the call after the Constitutional Relations Secretary warned there would be “unprecedented chaos” if the UK left the European Union without any arrangements in place.
While Mr Russell was adamant no-deal would be “disastrous”, he also insisted the Scottish Government will only publish details of its preparations if ministers believe it is necessary.
“I don’t want to add to the sense of uncertainty and panic on this,” he said.
Mr Russell said: “The UK Government has made a complete Horlicks of this situation, we are faced with unprecedented chaos.
“We are endeavouring to ensure first of all we do everything to protect Scotland in these circumstances. We are endeavouring to ensure the information the UK Government is putting out on this is put out and it is accurate.”
But he stated: “We will only add to it when we believe we need to add to it.”
He said ministers are “putting in place all the arrangements we can” for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
But Tory MSP Jamie Greene demanded: “How do we know you are prepared if you won’t publish any of these findings?”
Lib Dem MSP Tavish Scott also pressed Mr Russell, arguing it is “the Government’s responsibility” to publish “their best analysis of how our business is going to cope if we fall off that cliff edge”.
Green MSP Ross Greer said: “I accept your work is ongoing, what we are trying to assess here is what you will release into the public domain to allow others to prepare, or at least to understand, what the impacts may be.”
Mr Russell told them: “It is not our intention to publish anything in addition to the notices that the UK Government has unless we believe these are required.
“At the present moment we look at the papers as we get them and we say ‘can we add to these?’. We could subtract from them, and say ‘frankly we don’t think any of this will work’, but frankly we are not going to publish anything unnecessary.
“If there are areas where we need to do it, we will do it.”
He stressed the Scottish Government will “continue to make responsible preparations for EU withdrawal, however regrettable these are”.
Mr Russell also used the committee meeting to call on the UK Government to “rule out a disastrous no-deal and focus instead on securing the best outcome for all of us, which, short of remaining in the EU, is remaining part of the single market and customs union”.