SCOTTISH Brexit minister Mike Russell has come under fire after repeating his claim that there is no such thing as a UK single market.

Mr Russell made the comment ahead of a landmark vote in Holyrood which is expected to see MSPs reject the Conservative Government’s flagship Brexit legislation.

He accused Westminster of trying to “subvert” devolution by the back door, and labelled the EU Withdrawal Bill an “absolute imposition”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon insists Brexit process has strengthened case for Scottish independence

Scottish ministers argue part of the legislation – dealing with the return of devolved powers from Brussels after Brexit – represents a “power grab”.

In a position backed by all of Scotland’s opposition parties except the Tories, they insist the powers should return straight to Holyrood, instead of being temporarily held by Westminster for up to seven years.

Asked whether the powers needed to be held at a UK level to protect the single market, Mr Russell told the BBC: “There is no such thing as a single market in the UK.

“There’s quite clearly an integrated market in the UK, and there are ways in which that’s existed for a very long time.

“We are very keen, of course, to make sure that works. But to impose this will actually create a great deal of damage in areas [such as] agriculture, the environment, food safety. Because the decisions need to be made as close as possible.”

Mr Russell has repeatedly argued there is no single market in the UK.

Last year, he claimed it was a "construct" inserted into the debate by the UK, "which is used to argue against further devolution of powers".

Dean Lockhart, Scottish Conservative shadow economy secretary, branded the latest comment “extraordinary”.

He said: “If he cared to ask any business in Scotland, he would hear a clear message that there is indeed a single market in the UK in which they operate.

READ MORE: Holyrood vote set to trigger constitutional crisis over Brexit

“It is also the single largest market for Scottish businesses, accounting for over 60 per cent of Scotland’s trade.

‘’It is time for the SNP to listen to business, stop playing politics and start to co-operate with the UK government regarding the EU Withdrawal Bill.

”This shows that yet again when it comes down to it, the SNP will always prioritise their separatist agenda above the interests of the Scottish people and the economy.”

MSPs are expected to reject the UK Government's Brexit legislation this afternoon, with only the Tories set to stand behind it.

The EU Withdrawal Bill seeks to transfer all existing European legislation into domestic UK law, but aspects dealing with the return of devolved powers have proved controversial.