DOWNING Street has urged Nicola Sturgeon to resist fully publishing Whitehall’s top secret analysis - which suggested Britain’s economy would slump after Brexit – warning it would jeopardise the UK’s “national interest” in the Brussels talks.

Michael Russell, the Scottish Government’s Brexit Minister, has written to David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, making clear that the First Minister believes the public has a right to know the full impact of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU on jobs and living standards.

“This is not our analysis and we do not see it as our responsibility to make arrangements on confidential handling. I want to be clear that if you send the analysis to us, we will make it public,” declared Mr Russell.

The UK Government has indicated that, together with MPs, the devolved administrations will receive the full draft analysis on a “confidential basis”.

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Asked if the UK Government would withhold it given the Scottish Government’s threat, Theresa May’s deputy spokesman said: “We have been clear that we expect those who have access to the published analysis - as it is in the overwhelming national interest - not to publish anything that could risk exposing our negotiating position.”

He suggested Mr Davis had not yet received any formal notification from the Scottish Government, “so we will have to wait and see what happens”.

Later, a spokeswoman for the Brexit Department added: “There is an expectation that the document be treated with appropriate confidentiality.”

Last night following talks between the UK and Scottish Governments to break the impasse on the EU Withdrawal Bill, David Lidington, the Cabinet Office Minister and the Prime Minister’s de facto deputy, gave a diplomatic response when asked about Ms Sturgeon’s threat to publish the draft analysis.

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He told reporters in Edinburgh that there was information in the documents that would “shed light on the UK’s negotiating position, which, for obvious reasons, you wouldn’t want to share particularly widely outside the UK side of the negotiations.”

He added: “If you’re negotiating with people, whether it’s in business or in politics, actually you do want to keep some cards in your hand.”

Earlier this week, the draft analysis was leaked and suggested over a 15-year period the softest Brexit option of continued single market access through membership of the European Economic Area would lower growth by two per cent, a comprehensive trade deal would lower it by five per cent and a no-deal scenario by eight per cent.

Mrs May insisted the analysis was a draft, partial, had not been approved by ministers and did not scope the bespoke deal she was looking for. She insisted it would be “wrong” to publish it. But after Labour threatened a binding Commons vote, which the Tory Government looked set to lose, she agreed to release its full findings to MPs, the Commons Brexit Committee and the devolved administrations, albeit on a confidential basis.

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Phillip Lee, the Justice Minister, was ticked off by Julian Smith, the Conservative Chief Whip, after he aired comments in public, tweeting that, if the leaked figures were “anywhere near right”, then there should be a “serious question” about the Government’s Brexit policy. “It’s time for evidence, not dogma, to show the way,” he declared.

Meanwhile, the intergovernmental talks on the Brexit bill ended in stalemate.

Mr Lidington described the meeting with John Swinney, the Deputy FM, as “constructive” and insisted “some progress” had been made.

Both sides, he explained, had begun to "get into the meat of the sort of changes the Scottish Government wishes to see and how the UK Government can respond to those in a way that shows – as we do – that we fully respect the devolution settlement”.

However, a frustrated Mr Russell said: “Despite many meetings, once again the UK ministers arrived and left without putting words on the table to allow for a meaningful discussion. So we are still in the position that the Scottish Government cannot and will not recommend the bill should receive legislative consent.”

By the time the House of Lords begins its detailed scrutiny of the bill later this month, the Government hopes to have an agreed amendment to put before it to allay fears of a Whitehall “power-grab”.

But if no agreement can be reached, Holyrood will not give its consent to the bill and a full-blown constitutional crisis will ensue.