Nicola Sturgeon has said she feels “deeply frustrated and depressed” by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit while the UK is still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first minister said coronavirus should have “100% of our time and energy”.
Sturgeon was asked about the risks of a no-deal exit from the EU at the daily coronavirus briefing on Friday.
She said: “I feel deeply frustrated and depressed at the prospect of no-deal at the end of the transition period in December.
“That said, being realistic, any deal that is struck right now is going to be such a bare minimum deal that there is going to be disruption.
“I find it very, very frustrating that at a time when all of us should be giving – and I am seeking to do as much as I possibly can – 100% of our time and focus and energy to Covid.”
In a statement afterwards she explained: “It is beyond belief that in the midst of a global pandemic and deep recession the prime minister is telling Scotland to get ready for a disastrous No Deal Brexit.
“With less than three months until the end of the transition period, businesses and people across Scotland will be in despair at this extraordinary statement.
“At best this is reckless brinkmanship. At worst it means the UK government is now actively pursuing a No Deal outcome.
“The reality is Scotland’s economy is going to be damaged by a further needless hit to jobs at the worst possible time, with either a thin trade deal or no deal now the only possible outcomes.
“A completely unnecessary Brexit shock will hit many businesses already struggling with the Covid-19 crisis.
“A No Deal outcome would be particularly disastrous. Scotland could see heavy tariffs on goods, which for some sectors would be crippling.
“Because of the hard-line Brexit position adopted by the UK Government any outcome is going to be damaging, but a No Deal will mean the biggest hit to jobs. The prime minister must withdraw his threat to force the hardest possible Brexit on Scotland.
“The Scottish government view is clear – the best future for Scotland is to become an independent country.”