Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon are meeting face to face in a Brexit showdown expected to be dominated by increasing predictions of no deal.
In crunch talks in Edinburgh, the Prime Minister will claim Brexit can result in a brighter future for the whole UK – and is promising a major funding boost for Scotland.
But Scotland’s First Minister, a fierce opponent of Brexit, is challenging Mrs May to set out her “plan B” for Brexit and claiming no deal – or a “blind Brexit” – is unacceptable.
The PM is announcing a £1.2bn city deal for Edinburgh and southeast Scotland, with both the Scottish and UK governments committing £300m towards it.
Speaking ahead of her visit to Scotland, she said: “Today I have also announced a further £13m for investment in six science centres in the UK, including Dundee and Glasgow, to drive innovation in science and technology.
“As we leave the EU, the UK government is working in partnership with business, academia and the devolved administrations to create more good jobs and spread economic prosperity across the country.
“By making the most of our country’s assets and the talents of all of our people, we can build a brighter future for the whole UK.”
But Ms Sturgeon has accused Mrs May’s Tory government of “scare tactics” by talking up a no-deal Brexit and says two tests must be met in negotiations with Brussels before a crucial EU summit in October.
The First Minister is demanding:
:: A withdrawal agreement for an orderly transition, and
:: A detailed statement on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
Ms Sturgeon added: “A no-deal Brexit would be utterly unacceptable and deeply damaging, but by talking it up as a negotiating tactic there is a very real danger it becomes a reality.
“While the UK’s focus is on the scare tactics of no deal, there has been no visible progress on securing a future relationship that protects trade in both goods and services.
“The Prime Minister promised a detailed statement on the future relationship with the EU alongside the withdrawal agreement, so parliament and the people would know where the UK is going. That promise must be kept.
“Parliament cannot be asked to make the decision on withdrawal without details on what the future relationship will look like.
“With the Chequers proposals falling flat, even if a withdrawal agreement can be secured, there is a very real risk that we end up with a blind Brexit – which will see the UK step off the cliff-edge next March without knowing what landing place will be.
“That would do as much harm to jobs, investment and the economy as a no-deal Brexit, and would leave the country directionless through the transition period.
“Given this lack of clarity and real concerns of no agreement, it is time the Prime Minister told us what her plan B is. We cannot have no deal and we cannot have a blind Brexit.
“The whole of the UK deserves answers from the Prime Minister and we cannot continue without a back-up plan.”