RUTH Davidson has criticised her own party for failing to provide clarity on what happens after Brexit, saying Theresa May’s government urgently needs to “step up the pace”.

The Scottish Tory leader, who was a prominent advocate for remaining in the EU, levelled the charge in a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses in Glasgow.

She said there was a particular need for more information about the two-year transition, or implementation, phase, and firms had a right to start next year knowing what lay ahead.

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The criticism came just hours after Europe’s top Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the “moment for real clarity” from the UK government was approaching.

Mr Barnier also said “time is pressing” to get agreement over the UK’s divorce bill, with EU sources indicating there are only two weeks left to make progress before a key milestone.

If the UK fails to signal it will pay more than £20bn, there will be no move to future trade relations at next month’s summit of EU leaders, and the following summit is in March 2018.

Brexit Secretary David Davis is due to meet Mr Barnier for a sixth round of talks on Friday.

It was also reported that EU leaders are preparing in for Mrs May’s potential downfall within weeks, followed by either a change of leader or an election won by Labour.

In her speech, Ms Davidson said she was “avowedly for Remain”, but accepted that 17m people disagreed and she and businesses were now getting on with the job.

She said: “As we look ahead to the next stage in this process, I’d like to see all governments - in Brussels, London and Edinburgh - adopt some of that same business-like approach, stepping up the pace and providing some clearer direction.

“The negotiations with the EU27 recommence next month. I’d like to see one thing happen as a matter of urgency: that we get more clarity on an implementation phase.

“I think businesses have a right to begin 2018 with a clear line of sight on the coming period.

“So I want to see the Government delivering on that.”

She also called for more clarity on which devolved powers repatriated from Europe would come to Holyrood, and her MSPs wanted Edinburgh and London to reach a deal.

Ms Davidson admitted many firms were also concerned about the budget later this month.

It came “at a critical moment for the UK economy”, with business confidence “extremely fragile”, she said.

She hinted Chancellor Philip Hammond would include a boost for house building and the North Sea oil and gas industry, with help to make Scotland a “global hub" for decommissioning rigs currently broken up abroad.

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said: “The Tories lack any coherent Brexit plan, and now even Ruth Davidson has admitted just how much public patience is wearing thin at the chaos.

“The damage the Conservatives seem willing to inflict on our economy as they drag us off a hard Brexit cliff edge is utterly shameful.

“It'll be interesting to see whether she can live up to her boasts about the influence she wields and and manage to drag her hard Brexiteer colleagues back from the brink.”