DAVID Mundell has urged Nicola Sturgeon and her colleagues to “stop playing games” and to “get serious” about making progress on the Brexit legislation.

A frustrated Scottish Secretary has hit out after the First Minister insisted Holyrood’s powers needed to be strengthened in readiness for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU if Whitehall were to avoid a constitutional crisis over devolution.

On Tuesday, the Scottish Government published a Whitehall list of 111 powers where Brexit and Scottish devolution "intersected", and which the SNP have argued could be the casualties of a Westminster "power-grab," which saw them go to London not Edinburgh.

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They included agricultural support, fisheries management, GM crops regulations, criminal justice, rail franchising, fracking, procurement, aviation noise, animal welfare, and renewable energy.

Ms Sturgeon has made clear that as things stand she could not agree to Holyrood giving consent to the UK Government's flagship Brexit bill, thus throwing up the prospect of a full-blown constitutional crisis between Edinburgh and London.

However, ahead of another set of bilateral talks between Damian Green, Theresa May’s deputy, and John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, in London on Monday, Mr Mundell hit out, making clear that it was important for the Scottish Government to start discussing the areas where UK-wide frameworks would be needed as powers were transferred back from Brussels.

Earlier this week in a speech during a trade mission to Paraguay, the Secretary of State signalled that while some powers returning from the EU as a result of Brexit would go to Holyrood, others would remain reserved to Westminster to maintain the integrity of the UK’s internal market.

Ahead of tomorrow’s special Cabinet on Brexit before Theresa May gives her keynote speech in Florence, Mr Mundell said: “If the Scottish Government are serious about having arrangements that will protect the vitally important UK domestic market, they need to stop playing games and start discussing the areas where we will need UK frameworks after we leave the EU.

“It is very clear that people do not want to see the Scottish Government trying to use Brexit to continue their campaign to take Scotland out of the UK.

“It is important that Scotland is ready for when the UK leaves the EU. The Scottish Government needs to get serious about making progress on the EU Withdrawal Bill.”

The Scottish Secretary urged Ms Sturgeon to “stick to the facts” if progress was going to be made.

“Far from the list of 111 EU policy areas coming 'out of the blue', the UK Government sent it to the Scottish Government in July so we could begin discussions on UK frameworks.

“Also, as we have said numerous times, there is nothing in the legislation that will remove existing decision-making powers from Holyrood. So, it will not be the case, for example, that the EU Withdrawal Bill will remove the Scottish Government's right to decide if fracking happens in Scotland,” he added.