LEGAL action could be taken to over a "threat to devolution" by a new UK Government White Paper.

Constitution secretary Mike Russell says that he is  “cautious about going to court” but added there are “maybe a range of legal options” to try to block UK ministers from legislation in devolved areas.

The comments come amid a clash between Holyrood and Westminster over the UK Internal Market Bill – with SNP ministers in Edinburgh having vowed to withhold consent for this.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government is pushing ahead with its own legislation to allow Holyrood ministers to keep pace with European Union laws after Brexit.

Mr Russell said the 10-year period proposed for such powers would cover “very comfortably” the time it would take for Scotland to become independent and rejoin the EU.

The Scottish Greens have said the white paper poses a threat to devolution and Scotland’s democracy.

Fears raised by the Scottish Greens about the white paper last week have since been echoed by the Scottish and Welsh Governments.

Over 2,800 people have written to UK business secretary Alok Sharma via the Scottish Greens website to reject the proposals. 

Commenting, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie questioned if it is time for Scottish ministers to go to court to resolve the issue of UK ministers legislating in devolved areas.

He said: “I’m not surprised the Scottish and Welsh governments have echoed our concerns, this white paper is a serious threat to the powers of the devolved nations to make decisions.

“The details reveal these proposals are not just about EU powers. It would place a veto in the hands of Boris Johnson on any devolved decision that threatens free market dogma and the interests of big business.

"This threatens our environmental, food and farming standards. It threatens Scotland’s decisions to ban fracking or prevent new nuclear power stations. It could be applied to our bold public health measures such as minimum unit pricing, and it certainly could allow further private sector involvement in our NHS.

“I’m glad thousands have joined me in writing to the UK Government asking them to withdraw these proposals now.

He said the convention of Westminster “not normally” legislating in devolved areas had been altered by the UK Government.

Mr Harvie said: “Not normally apparently to the UK Government just means unless we feel like it, not unless we want to.

“Is it not time for the Scottish Government to take that to court and seek a judicial review on what that means?”

The Sewel Convention, which underpins the relationship between the UK Government in London and administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, states Westminster will “not normally” pass legislation in devolved areas without their consent.

But the UK Government has in the past pushed through laws without this – such as with the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

While the Scottish Government has attacked Westminster over the UK Internal Market Bill, branding it a “power grab”, the Tories claimed new legislation from Holyrood ministers would give then “sweeping powers”.

The Scottish Government has introduced the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill to Scots law to “keep pace” with EU law in devolved areas, where they believe this is appropriate.